Lionel Messi has agreed to join MLS club Inter Miami, according to Spanish soccer journalist Guillem Balague of the BBC. The deal reportedly includes profit-sharing agreements between Messi and MLS sponsors Apple and Adidas.
Messi, 35, is set to reject a more lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal to join Inter Miami, an MLS expansion club that began play in 2020. It was reported last month that Al-Hilal’s offer to Messi was worth $386 million per year.
Apple, which has a 10-year, $2.5 billion streaming deal with MLS, has discussed offering Messi a share of revenue generated by the league’s MLS Season Pass service on Apple TV+, according to The Athletic. Messi has also been offered “any increase in Adidas’ profits resulting from his involvement in MLS.”
Inter Miami has been willing to offer an equity stake to Messi to lure the Argentine superstar to MLS, as reported by The Independent in April. Former English soccer star David Beckham is a co-owner of Inter Miami, and he acquired his stake as part of his contract signed in 2007 to play for MLS club LA Galaxy that included an option for him to buy an MLS club at a fixed price of $25 million once he retired from playing.
Messi has played the last two seasons with French club Paris Saint-Germain following his historic tenure with FC Barcelona. Messi owns a house in Miami, and his other links to the area include his sponsorship with Hard Rock Cafe, the chain restaurant based in South Florida.