Messi’s Inter Milan Move: A Ray of Sunshine After the Storm

Lionel Messi has expressed his reluctance to revisit the traumatic departure he experienced from Barcelona two years ago. He has revealed his decision to join MLS side Inter Miami CF, thereby moving away from the Catalan club.
Inter Miami founder, David Beckham and Messi
Courtesy: Inter Miami
By | 8 min read

Barcelona did not want to lose this football talent, but what they did went in the opposite direction.

Luis Suarez has stated that the way Barcelona treated him and Lionel Messi in the summer of 2020 moved both of them to tears. That was the major reason Messi was attempting to force a move after 20 years with Barcelona, who wanted to keep him under contract until June 2021.

His move away from Barcelona is fantastic news for other clubs since every team in the world would want Lionel Messi in its lineup. But just a handful of clubs could meet all the demands for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, even his formal Paris Saint-Germain because he is unconvinced the club can compete at the top of the European game given its financial issues, while the French champions want to focus on developing young talent.

Short after the leaving, Many rumors on his Lionel Messi to Inter Miami is now a reality, with the player having already completed his presentation with the MLS club and made his debut in the Leagues Cup against Liga MX side, Cruz Azul.

Now the Florida team has Messi by their side, and since the reason to this collaboration is still a hot topic as Messi just scored the team’s goals, let’s dive in this article.

Inter Miami – Writing the Story Of a Fútbol Club Like No Other

Introducing Inter Miami CF, an exciting American professional soccer club based in the vibrant city of Fort Lauderdale. The club emerged onto the scene in 2018, with a vision to make their mark in Major League Soccer (MLS) starting from the 2020 season. A momentous occasion arrived on January 29, 2018, as Inter Miami CF was officially unveiled as the league’s 25th club, generating immense anticipation among soccer enthusiasts.

In a significant step towards building their roster, the club made their first-ever signings on July 26, 2019. Two immensely talented 19-year-old Argentine youth internationals, Matías Pellegrini and Julián Carrranza joined the ranks of Inter Miami CF. Pellegrini arrived from Estudiantes de la Plata, while Carranza made the move from Club Atlético Banfield, showcasing the club’s commitment to nurturing young talent.

The much-anticipated moment finally arrived on March 1, 2020, as Inter Miami CF kicked off their inaugural season in MLS. Facing off against the formidable reigning Supporters’ Shield champions, Los Angeles FC, the debutants displayed great determination despite falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the Banc of California Stadium. It was a promising start that hinted at the club’s potential for greatness.

Inter Miami board of leadership and Jordi Alba
Courtesy: Inter Miami

The year 2020 continued to witness historic milestones for Inter Miami CF. On August 22, the club etched their name in the annals of history by securing their first-ever victory. In a thrilling match against Orlando City SC, Inter Miami CF emerged triumphant with a thrilling 3-2 scoreline, creating an atmosphere of jubilation at the Inter Miami CF Stadium.

As Inter Miami CF continues to carve its path in the MLS, their journey is marked by moments of triumph, dedication, and the pursuit of excellence. With a passionate fan base and a commitment to building a formidable team, Inter Miami CF aims to leave an indelible mark in American soccer.

The club has succeeded with the goal of bringing Major League Soccer (MLS) to the city of Miami and to establish a strong soccer presence in the region. But the club was founded with a grander mission.

“We are writing the story of a fútbol club in a soccer league, and we are writing the story of a fútbol club like no other. Because our fútbol club is born out of the very DNA of fútbol — a sport for everyone that can be played anywhere.”

That’s what the club stated in their mission statement. However, to run an organization, it’s hard to avoid failure, or another way to say, failure will make the organization stronger. And in the case of Inter Milan, the club has gone through hardships as well.

Experience a Downturn – Struggled To Deliver Results

Despite the Beckham-induced hype, Inter Miami has struggled to produce results in their three-plus seasons in the league.

In their current campaign, they sat last in the Eastern Conference with 15 points in 16 games. Inter had their greatest season last year 2022, finishing sixth in their conference but losing in the first round of the playoffs.

As Messi makes his debut with Inter Miami, he’ll need to acclimate to a unique lexicon featuring words like “conference” and “playoffs.” The MLS structure diverges from the conventional international standards of league football.

In this league, teams are divided into two conferences determined by geographical regions. At the conclusion of the regular season, the top teams from these conferences come together for a thrilling knockout tournament. Unlike many other leagues, there’s no system of relegation or promotion, and notably, there isn’t even a second-tier league within MLS.

Adding to the intrigue, Inter Miami made headlines recently when they parted ways with their head coach, Phil Neville, due to a series of disappointing results.

In 2021, Beckham pleaded for patience after a disappointing 10th-place finish the previous season, saying that even great clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester United were not “built in a day”.

Coming to the second quarter of 2023, the club haven’t escaped from being a clown on match.

Currently, the club is leading the dubious race for the Wooden Spoon, a rather ironic “award” bestowed upon the MLS team that finishes the regular season with the fewest points.

Miami’s struggles are evident in their abysmal expected goal differential per 90 minutes, standing at a dismal -0.61, as reported by FBref. To make matters worse, they are mired in an agonizing 11-game winless streak in MLS play, which includes a demoralizing seven-game losing streak.

However, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon. The arrival of none other than Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players in the world, has brought renewed optimism to Florida.

Messi has officially joined the ranks of Inter Miami, and he’s not alone; his former FC Barcelona teammate, Sergio Busquets, is also now part of the squad. This infusion of talent has the potential to transform the club’s fortunes and inject excitement into the MLS scene.

The Arrival of Messi – Get the Club the Silver Bullet

Messi fitted right in either as a pure No. 10 at the tip of midfield or in one of the half spaces as part of a three-forward frontline. He’s been near-perfect in each of those roles throughout his career and would immediately improve Miami’s attacking ability in the final third.

Together with Sergio Busquets, he already slotted into the No. 6 position, becoming a deep-lying playmaker with Arroyo next to him for some defensive cover.

In terms of how much Messi and Busquets will help clean things up? Well, that answer is much more complicated.

It’s hard to imagine Inter Miami playing slowly with Messi and Busquets on the field. These two top-notch possession players will make sure the ball moves quickly. Messi will ask for the ball, and the pressure of not letting down the best player ever will push even the slowest passers on the team to step up.

Busquets, on the other hand, is incredibly skilled in his No. 6 role. He smoothly keeps the ball moving in midfield with clever moves and tricky passes.

Inter Miami team in a match
Courtesy: Inter Miami

Messi and Busquets are probably the best pair to help Miami improve their passing game. However, two players can only do so much to speed things up. We’ll see just how much they can change things when they play later this year.

Things are looking quite promising for the club now that Lionel Messi and Inter Miami have clinched their very first trophy in the club’s history. They achieved this in a thrilling victory over Nashville FC in the Leagues Cup final on August 19, 2023.

Messi, the captain of Inter Miami, played a pivotal role by scoring an impressive goal in the 23rd minute. This goal, a trademark Messi move, involved a stunning left-footed shot that curled past a group of defenders and landed in the top left corner of the net, giving Inter Miami a 1-0 lead at Geodis Park in Tennessee.

In the second half, Nashville managed to level the match when Fafa Picault scored with a header off a corner kick in the 57th minute. The ball deflected off Inter Miami’s Benjamin Cremaschi and Drake Callender before finding its way into the goal.

Shortly after their Leagues Cup triumph, Inter Miami continued their winning streak by defeating FC Cincinnati in a penalty kick shootout in the US Open Cup semifinal.

It appears that Lionel Messi and Inter Miami have developed a knack for winning, and this success is not only appreciated by the fans but also by the club’s partners.

Mutual Benefits to Partnership – Apple is Happy Too!

The impact of Messi’s presence is becoming increasingly significant. Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his enthusiasm, remarking that he is extremely pleased with how the partnership is progressing. Meanwhile, Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas is radiating joy as the club’s Instagram following has surged to an impressive 14 million followers, surpassing the numbers of any NFL, NHL, or MLB team.

If you’re hoping to see Lionel Messi in action in your city, be prepared to dig deep into your pockets. Ticket prices are soaring, with some going for as much as $600 or even double that amount.

Exact figures can be challenging to pin down due to limited public data or data that is not yet available. However, it appears that Lionel Messi’s new deal with Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami, estimated to be worth between $50 million to $60 million and featuring revenue-sharing agreements with league sponsors Apple and Adidas, is just the beginning of a potentially lucrative partnership.

Inter Miami in a press conference
Courtesy: Inter Miami

Apple, as the broadcast partner for MLS, operates a dedicated streaming platform for the league called MLS Season Pass. In July, the same month when Messi’s move to Inter Miami was announced, the platform gained 300,000 new subscribers, bringing its total subscriber count to 1 million, as reported by Sports Business Journal.

MLS Season Pass is priced at $99 per year, so a 300,000-subscriber increase would potentially generate $29.7 million in revenue. However, it’s worth noting that this calculation may not be straightforward due to promotional partnerships with T-Mobile and LG. Additionally, MLS season ticketholders receive the service for free.

World Soccer Talk estimates that MLS currently has around 420,000 season ticketholders. While the exact figures may vary, it’s evident that substantial revenue is flowing into the league.

Earlier this August 2023, Mas said subscribers to MLS Season Pass had more than doubled since Messi joined the MLS, suggesting it’s now around 1.4 million subscribers.

MLS did not provide a specific number for MLS Season Pass subscribers, saying only that they have more than doubled since Messi joined the league. It did not respond to a question regarding league-wide season ticket holders.

The addition of Lionel Messi to Major League Soccer (MLS) has had a significant impact on the league’s distribution channels and financial success. In addition to live broadcasts, MLS strategically packages and distributes highlights on social media, benefiting from a global broadcasting deal with Apple. Messi’s presence has led to unprecedented social media views and impressions, boosting media partners and advertisers.

Live viewership has also soared, with Inter Miami games consistently sold out, resulting in skyrocketing ticket prices on the resale market. Within two months of Messi joining MLS, he generated at least $265 million in primary ticket sales, and the overall financial impact is expected to be even higher when considering jersey sales and secondary market tickets.

Fans attending MLS games spend on concessions, parking, and merchandise, with Messi jerseys in high demand, causing backlogs and a $180 price tag. Messi’s contract includes an equity stake in Inter Miami, potentially increasing in value. The team’s revenues are projected to double, reaching around $108 million this year, and its valuation could rise to $1.5 billion. Institutional investors have shown confidence in this growth, with Ares Management investing $75 million in Inter Miami.

And Messi effect is not going to stop there, not only could he significantly alter the brand equity of both Inter Miami and MLS or bring a dramatic jump in streaming rates, but he seems likely to boost the economy in Fort Lauderdale.

Messi Mercy – Boost Economy in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Greg Chavarria told Local 10 News in July 2023 that the city is ready to witness the growth that comes with having one of sports’ top names.

“This represents support and positive impact to our economic engine,” he said. “We really like to see our local businesses thrive, from boutiques to mom and pops.”

According to a news release from Fort Lauderdale, downtown hotel inventory has increased by 290 percent in the previous five years and will likely increase much further now that Inter Miami has signed one of soccer’s best and most popular players in the sport’s history.

“This is a shining example of what collaboration between government and private enterprise can accomplish. Here in Fort Lauderdale, we continue to build strong partnerships with outstanding organizations to strengthen our economy and create a world-class community. We are extremely excited to have Messi call Fort Lauderdale home and welcome him with open arms,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said in a statement.

The folks running Grano De Mostaza restaurant, located on 31st Avenue and not too far from Messi’s new home turf, conveyed their excitement at the prospect of having more customers.

Next door, at Vegan On The Go, the restaurant’s owner, Tarvarus Osborne, expressed his readiness to cater to Messi and Inter Miami fans and eagerly anticipated the arrival of new patrons to the neighborhood.

“This area is going to be a lot more visible. We get a lot more searches through Google that type in “vegan” because of the stadium,” he said. “We’re following the traction and we’re excited about it.”

The city intends to capitalize on Fort Lauderdale’s newest attraction, which also promotes Broward’s destinations for newcomers.

Inter Miami fans
Courtesy: Inter Miami

However, with pledges from Miami city leaders to construct a new soccer stadium in Miami-Dade County, it’s uncertain if the predicted bump would last, as the team presently plays and practices at the $170 million Fort Lauderdale facility.

“Certainly, while that is being built, and until we know that definitely they will get that ability to build, we invite anyone and everyone to come and experience this stadium that is a state-of-the-art, first class stadium,” said Chavarria.

Until then, Fort Lauderdale is enjoying its time in the international spotlight.

“It puts Fort Lauderdale on the map. There’s more than just Miami. Fort Lauderdale is the geographic center of South Florida,” said Chavarria.

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