Freedom to dream, indeed! Forbes.com is reporting that Team Messi has agreed to a four-year, $216-million deal with Club Internacionel de Futbol Miami that will be announced later this week.
If the report is true — and that’s still an incredibly huge “if” — South Florida and U.S. soccer fans may have Mrs. Messi, Antonela Roccuzzo, to thank. According to the Forbes story, Barcelona needs more time to ready its offer; with Paris Saint-Germain, Messi’s current club (through June 30) out of the picture, Inter Miami and Al-Hilal of the Saudi Professional League are the most prominent contenders.
The Saudis reportedly have offered the Argentine World Cup hero almost TEN TIMES what Forbes is reporting Inter Miami can offer Messi, and Messi already has a multi-million-dollar business relationship with The Kingdom as a soccer ambassador. If the decision were purely financial, Al-Hilal would be the obvious choice, a no-doubt slam-dunk.
But, evidently, the missus prefers Miami to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The family owns a vacation home in the area and regularly vacation in South Florida. Messi has said he would like to live in the United States and play in Major League Soccer, and the Latin flavor and cosmopolitan energy of the city would surely be more to the Messis’ taste than the obscenely wealthy capital city of a totalitarian Islamic regime with a problematic international reputation.
Of course, as recently as today the global soccer Press we’re reporting Antonella’s preference for Barcelona. Undoubtedly, Leo would love to return to Los Blaugrana, the club with which he rose to fame and spent more than two decades of his life. But financial chaos led to the Catalan side failing to re-sign him in 2021, letting him go to PSG, and although La Liga has approved Barcelona’s financial plan moving forward, the team still must sell several players before it can offer Messi a remotely competitive deal. That will take several weeks, weeks the international superstar doesn’t want to wait before deciding his family’s future.
Is Messi playing in Miami’s Pink and Black kit the best thing for the club’s development? Probably not. But if I’m dreaming, don’t pinch me.
I mean, c’mon; he’s Lionel Freakin’ Messi.