Lionel Messi has landed in Miami to officially complete his move to Major League Soccer.
He is expected to sign a two-and-a-half year contract with Inter Miami, with an option for another season at David Beckham’s team.
Beckham’s Miami co-owner, Jorge Mas, says Messi will earn between $50m and $60m a year, with money contributed from adidas via Miami sgirt sales and Apple TV, who own subscription rights to MLS.
He has been on vacation in the Caribbean with his wife Antonela and their three sons. The family were pictured at Miami airport on Tuesday afternoon, while Miami fans gathered outside the team’s DRV PNK Stadium in celebration at the landmark move.
The Argentina World Cup winner, 36, will be officially unveiled by Miami on Sunday night and is expected to play his first game on Thursday, July 21 against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.
Lionel Messi has landed in Miami to complete his stunning move to Major League Soccer
The 36-year-old Messi arrives in the United States as a World Cup winner with Argentina
Fans gathered outside Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium to celebrate Messi’s imminent arrival
Messi’s arrival will galvanize interest both in soccer across America and Miami itself.
‘My mentality and my head are not going to change and I am going to try, wherever I have to be, give my best for myself and my new club, continue to perform at the highest level,’ Messi told television in his native Argentina, via ESPN.
Speaking of his family moving to the United States, he added: ‘We are happy with the decision we made. Prepared and eager to face the new challenge, the new change.’
Messi’s move to MLS is expected to take the sport to new heights in the United States. Former Barcelona team-mate Sergio Busquets has already joined him in Miami.
Messi arrives in the United States as a World Cup winner after leading Argentina to glory in Qatar last year. It was the first time Argentina had won soccer’s biggest prize since 1986 and proved the crowning moment of Messi’s international career.
The Miami team is in urgent need of an injection of star quality. The team is last in the MLS Eastern Conference, hasn’t won in 10 games and is eight points away from the playoffs.
Fans waited outside if DRV Pink Stadium Tuesday as Messi was set to arrive in South Florida