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Lionel Messi confirms move to Inter Miami over Saudi Arabia

The Argentine World Cup champion was rumored to be headed to the Saudi club Al Hilal, but has opted to play in the US instead.
Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Clermont Foot at Parc des Princes on June 03, 2023 in Paris, France.

Lionel Messi said on Wednesday that he is leaving Paris Saint-Germain to play soccer in the United States, ending speculation that he might join other aging superstars in Saudi Arabia.

Messi will sign with Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS), the Argentine confirmed to the Spanish news outlets Mundo Deportivo and Sport. Exact details of the deal were not immediately available. The Athletic reported earlier that there have been talks about providing Messi with revenue-sharing deals with Apple TV, which hosts an MLS streaming service, and Adidas, one of the league’s top sponsors.

Messi had previously been linked to the Saudi soccer club Al Hilal, which reportedly offered him a whopping $434 million per year. The Saudi Pro League is having some success landing the sport’s top stars. Messi’s rival Cristiano Ronaldo signed with the Saudi club Al Nassr in December, while Karim Benzema left Real Madrid to sign with Al-Ittihad earlier this week. All of them are at least 35 and relatively late in their careers.

The MLS is the top soccer competition in the United States and Canada. The league is inferior in talent to its European and South American counterparts. However, its stature has been raised in recent years by other Europeans such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry playing there late in their careers.

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