Lionel Messi will join MLS side Inter Miami, part-owned by David Beckham, after leaving PSG upon the expiry of his contract, and it has transpired that Apple has proved pivotal in the Argentine’s decision.
Available on a free transfer, PSG confirmed Messi would depart the French capital at the conclusion of the season, with his final appearance coming in a 3-2 defeat to Clermont Foot.
This led to plenty of speculation about his future, with a return to Barcelona and a mega-money move to Saudi Arabia also on the cards. Messi has instead decided to head stateside, though – as confirmed by Guillem Balague on Twitter – more enticed by the offer presented by Inter Miami over the other aforementioned options.
Barcelona’s financial problems made a deal difficult to complete, but Saudi Arabia were willing to make him the best-paid athlete in history with a huge contract offer. However, he has settled on Inter Miami.
The deal with the American team reportedly involves a number of complicated sponsorship partnership incentives from brands such as Adidas and Apple, with both companies having a relationship with Messi already.
On Tuesday, Apple announced a docuseries charting Messi’s World Cup 2022 performances will air on Apple+, with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage tracking the 35-year-old through the tournament up to and including the mesmeric final.
Also a partner of MLS, Apple will reportedly offer Messi a share of revenue earned through the MLS Season Pass – according to The Athletic – the league’s streaming package on Apple TV.
The report also suggests Messi will take a percentage of profits Adidas earn resulting in his arrival at Inter Miami, with the manufacturer sponsoring the entirety of the MLS sides.
Finally, similar to Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy in 2007 where he was offered an expansion franchise for $25 million, which is now a fraction of the current price, there’s also a reported chance that Messi could have the chance to purchase a stake in an MLS team once he retires from professional football.
Messi looks set to feature for Argentina in the upcoming friendlies against Australia on June 15 and Indonesia on June 19.