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$60m a year Lionel Messi set to make Inter Miami debut on 21 July | Inter Miami

Lionel Messi will make his Inter Miami debut on 21 July, according to the club’s managing owner, Jorge Mas.

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Mas said the Argentinian will play in his new club’s Leagues Cup meeting with Liga MX’s Cruz Azul. The match is set for DRV PNK Stadium, the team’s temporary home in Fort Lauderdale while it searches for a permanent stadium in Miami.

Mas said the club intends to have a permanent stadium by 2025. Messi’s contract is for two-and-a-half years, meaning he could play in the new venue. In the meantime, Mas said DRV PNK Stadium will be upgraded.

“We have already contracted to fill in the corners of the stadium that should increase capacity by approximately 3,000 to 3,200 seats [to a capacity of around 22,000],” he said. “We are gearing up to do that work in the next four weeks. Every game will be sold out. The demand for tickets has been 10 times what we can handle on a season ticket basis.”

The Herald reported that Messi’s contract is worth between $50m and $60m a year and will include salary, bonuses and equity in the club once he retires. Messi turned down offers from Barcelona and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal to join Inter Miami. According to some reports, the Saudi Arabian deal was worth $400m a year.

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Mas said he believes Messi will help MLS to become one of the world’s leading leagues.

“I think there will always be a before and after Messi when we talk about the sport in the United States,” he said. “I have a very, very strong held belief that we can create in North America and the United States, if not the greatest league, one of the top two leagues in the world. I cannot over emphasize the magnitude of this announcement.”

Mas said he is aware of fans’ enthusiasm around Messi’s arrival, and the club intends to beef up security around his matches.

“As you may recall, Argentina trained in Miami before they flew over to to Doha [for last year’s World Cup],” he said. “Where we had an opportunity to see some of the Messi mania at our doors on an everyday basis during practice. So, we’re very prepared. We’ve been getting ready for this.”

Tom Lutz

Published: 2023-06-20 15:21:39

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