Lionel Messi joins Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS), surprising football fans worldwide. Expected to sign with Al-Hilal, he opted for a new chapter in his career in the United States.

Messi’s arrival is a significant coup for Inter Miami, particularly for the struggling Eastern Conference team. While the football superstar had the opportunity to earn an astronomical $440 million with Al-Hilal, he prioritized familiarity and opted for the Magic City.

With a property in Miami and regular visits from his family, Messi’s decision to join Inter Miami makes it more than just a football move. In addition to the luxury of living in South Florida, the reported salary he will earn at the club is nothing short of impressive.

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Although Inter Miami currently has the lowest average attendance in MLS, Messi’s presence is sure to draw fans in droves. According to reports, the football legend is set to earn a staggering $54 million (£43 million) in salary at Inter Miami. This salary comfortably places him as the highest-paid player in MLS, surpassing the previous record held by Xherdan Shaqiri of the Chicago Fire.

The question on many minds is how Inter Miami managed to finance such a deal for Messi, considering MLS’s strict salary caps. The club had already occupied all three “Designated Player” (DP) slots, allowing salaries to exceed the league’s cap. To accommodate Messi, the club will likely have to move one of its current DP players, possibly Gregore, to a regular roster spot.

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Messi’s astronomical earnings have set a new benchmark for player salaries in the league, solidifying his status as a true footballing icon. His decision to join Inter Miami not only adds a significant boost to the team’s profile but also elevates the standing of Major League Soccer as a desirable destination for top football talent.