Lionel Messi is set to join Major League Soccer side Inter Miami when his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the month.
The Argentine great had received lucrative offers to follow Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia this summer, with Al Hilal among his suitors, while Barcelona were also interested in re-signing him.
Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, was pictured visiting Barcelona president Joan Laporta to hold talks about a possible return to Catalonia earlier this week, but an offer did not materialise due to LaLiga’s financial fair play rules.
The 35-year-old, who inspired his country to World Cup glory in December, is now set to move to the United States and join Inter Miami, a club part-owned by David Beckham.
Messi, a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, has scored 32 goals in 75 appearances in all competitions for French giants PSG, winning back-to-back Ligue 1 titles, following his transfer from boyhood club Barcelona in 2021.
Inter Miami, who only became an MLS team in 2020 having been founded two years earlier, currently sit bottom of the Eastern Conference and are managerless, having parted company with previous head coach Phil Neville last week.
‘Incredible coup for Inter Miami’
“He has had so many different offers. Obviously, we know Barcelona have been keen to re-sign him but, for financial reasons, that was going to be very, very difficult.
“It’s an open secret as well that clubs in Saudi Arabia have been making offers for him, including Al Hilal, but it’s his wish to move to America. He has a house in Miami, that’s where he would like to move to at this point of his career.
Argentina's Lionel Messi hoists the winning team replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy during a celebration ceremony for local fans after an international friendly soccer match against Panama at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, March 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
“Just to put this into context, I think you could say that Lionel Messi will be the biggest name to play ‘soccer’, as they call it in America, in America, since people like Pele or George Best.
“Of course, David Beckham himself went to go and play for LA Galaxy, but Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time, right up there with Diego Maradona and Pele.
“It is an incredible coup for Inter Miami, who only two weeks ago dismissed their manager, Phil Neville.
“They have been struggling in the MLS, they are bottom of their Conference at the moment, but the offer they have put in front of Lionel Messi is the one he wants, and he will be playing for Inter Miami when his contract at PSG runs out very shortly.”
Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?
Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News