Lionel Messi, seven times crowned as the world’s best soccer player, sent shockwaves through the soccer world by moving to the United States and signing with Inter Miami, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. His arrival in the United States didn’t go unnoticed, and the impact of his presence is evident, both on the field and in the financial books. The question that arises is whether this move is truly motivated by a passion for soccer or if it’s merely a money game.
The Argentine superstar led Inter Miami to their first Leagues Cup victory and scored 11 goals in just 14 games in the 2023 season. His immediate performance not only elevated the team’s level but also attracted a constellation of stars to MLS matches, resulting in a substantial increase in ticket prices. It’s undeniable that Messi adds quality and excitement to the league, providing fans with top-tier soccer entertainment.
However, the numbers in Messi’s MLS contracts are striking and warrant attention. With a base salary of $12 million and a total guaranteed compensation of over $20 million, he became the highest-paid player in the league. Additionally, he is expected to receive between $50 million and $60 million in agreements with the MLS and Apple TV. His total earnings of approximately $135 million far exceed the payroll of rival teams in the MLS, with only four teams surpassing him in terms of total spending.
Messi stated that his decision to move to the US was not driven by money, despite receiving lucrative offers from the Middle East. He emphasized that his choice of Miami was based on his passion for soccer and his desire to enjoy the game, a decision he made with his family.
However, it’s hard to ignore the numbers. While Messi may genuinely love the game, his transfer to the MLS is also clearly a lucrative business move for him. The presence of major international soccer stars in the United States is a strategic move to boost the sport’s profile in the country and expand his personal brand.
Lionel Messi’s case in the MLS is a combination of a passion for soccer and a tempting financial opportunity. His presence in the league benefits fans, who can witness one of the greatest soccer players in history in action, and it’s also a smart business move for Messi himself. As fans, we can celebrate this union of talent and money, knowing that, in the end, everyone comes out as a winner.