STORY: Soccer star Lionel Messi has made up his mind to go to America.
It’s confirmed on Wednesday he’ll join Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami as a free agent, after he parts ways with Paris St Germain.
This comes after Messi snubbed a lucrative contract in Saudi Arabia, and a homecoming deal with Barcelona fell through.
He explained his decision to move to the U.S. in more detail to newspapers, saying:
“If Barcelona didn't work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more about my family.”
He said he wanted to "experience football in a different way" by joining the U.S. league.
And that, quote, “Obviously with the same responsibility and desire to want to win and to always do things well. But with more peace of mind.”
The move is a big win not only for MLS but also Apple TV, which broadcasts the league’s games.
Messi has a record seven Ballon d'Ors to his name and led his country Argentina to a World Cup victory last December, and his appearance is expected to drive viewership.
A source with knowledge of Messi’s Miami deal told Reuters a contract is expected to pave way to an eventual ownership stake for Messi, which is what he wants. Inter Miami is co-owned by former England captain David Beckham.
But Messi will have his work cut out for him, as the club currently sits rock bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. And Miami’s coach was sacked last week, after a dismal ten defeats this season.