The best player of his generation, and perhaps the best of all time, Messi made it to MLS having captured every conceivable honor at club and international level: league titles in Spain and France; four Champions League titles with Barcelona; And the America’s Cup and the World Cup last December with Argentina.
His status as the best player in the world made him a very valuable prospect as his contract with his current employer, Paris Saint-Germain, expired. Miami wasn’t his only option: Messi, 35, fended off a presumed return to Barcelona and a huge offer, said to be worth up to $500m, for a move to Saudi Arabia, which has proceeded to attract dozens of players. The best players on the planet to the Gulf this summer.
Should the deal go through, it would be the biggest coup for MLS since it lured Beckham in 2007, when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy. That deal changed perceptions about the league’s quality and ambitions around the world. Acquiring Messi would generate more interest in the league in the run-up to the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Messi admitted, in his interview, that Miami may not have been his first choice as a destination. Speaking to outlets that have devoted much of their coverage to Barcelona, the club where he became the best player of his generation, Messi made it clear that in an ideal world, he would have returned to Catalonia. “Obviously he really wanted to come back,” he said, and discussed the idea with Xavi Hernandez, the club’s manager, and Joan Laporta, his boss.
In the end, though, Barcelona’s financial turmoil forced his hand. He said, “I heard that they had to sell players or reduce their salaries, and the truth is that I did not want to go through with that,” indicating that he did not want to take responsibility for forcing Barcelona to adjust his team just to accommodate his team. for him.
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