Messi loses last game of the season with Inter Miami
Lionel Messi’s impact on the US MLS is undeniable. In terms of sport, however, his first season for Inter Miami ended in disappointment.
It was already clear beforehand that Miami would not make it into the playoffs without Messi after a weak start to the season. The Colombian Kerwin Vargas took advantage of Inter’s defensive weakness to score the winning goal for Charlotte in the 13th minute.
Messi repeatedly tried shots, especially in the second half, but was unable to turn things around. But his impact since arriving in Major League Soccer in July is undisputed.
Few things illustrate Messi’s exceptional position in the MLS as much as his salary. The superstar gets 20.4 million dollars (19.2 million euros) in Miami. Only three MLS teams pay their players more – added up for the entire squad. In total, the two-and-a-half-year contract that the Argentine signed in the summer is worth $150 million, according to the players’ union. Not included: sponsorship income.
Messi won the Leagues Cup for Miami
Sales of jerseys, tickets and streaming subscriptions fueled Messi’s signing enormously. For Inter Miami, the seven-time world footballer couldn’t conjure up the already unlikely qualification for the playoffs – but he made the team’s first title clear. In the final against Nashville SC, Miami won the Leagues Cup in the summer, Messi was top scorer and best player in the tournament with teams from the USA and Mexico.
In total, he scored 11 goals in 14 games for Miami. Recently he was ailing but hardly played in the MLS. Argentina’s 2-0 win against Peru in World Cup qualifying last Tuesday was his first full-length game since the beginning of September. Of the seven games without Messi, Miami only won one.
At the beginning of November, Messi will probably go on a promotional tour with the team to China. There will then be two more international matches with Argentina before the superstar is expected to take a longer vacation until preparation for the new MLS season begins in January. A winter move back to FC Barcelona or Saudi Arabia seems highly unlikely.