'I'm Going to Miami.' Lionel Messi Is Heading to the MLS's Inter Miami CF. In a surprise decision, the soccer star says he's hanging up his cleats in Europe to play in the U.S.

By Jonathan Small

Lionel Messi, one of the best players in soccer history, announced today that he will be leaving the European league to play for Inter Miami CF of the MLS.

"I made the decision that I'm going to go to Miami," Messi told Mundo Deportivo. "I still haven't closed it one hundred percent. I'm missing some things, but we decided to continue on the path."

The 35-year-old star soccer won the World Cup for Argentina in 2022, and is a seven-time World Player of the Year. Many predicted Messi would either follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and play for the Saudi Premier League or sign with Barcelona FC for the 2023-24 season for $25 million. But the player known for trick plays seems to have fooled them all.

Related: 5 Things to Learn from Lionel Messi

The soccer world reacts

Many were shocked by Messi's decision. Inter Miami, which is co-owned by another soccer legend David Beckham and has an Argentinian coach, is the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Barcelona FC said in a statement that club president Joan Laporta "understood and respected Messi's decision to want to compete in a league with fewer demands, further away from the spotlight and the pressure he has been subject to in recent years".


But according to Messi biographer Guillem Balague, "Messi was ultimately tempted to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami for a variety of reasons, including lifestyle and a deal with big brands that extends beyond football." He added that Messi has a house in Miami.

One person that wasn't disappointed was Miami's mayor Francis Suarez.

"We literally beat his longtime home team and an incredible financial package from one of the wealthiest countries because Miami is the most exciting and dynamic city in the world," he wrote on Twitter.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

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