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Messi Decides To Play In America Instead Of Europe Or The Middle East

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      People shop for merchandises next to a board with human-shaped image of Argentina's footballer Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria at a newly decorated post office in Beijing on June 8, 2023. (Photo by Jade Gao / AFP) (Photo by JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)

Now that Leo Messi has announced his decision to play for Inter Miami next season and has absolutely ruled out a return to Futbol Club Barcelona, even if it was for a single season, we have the feeling that for several weeks there has been speculation about a completely impossible ending to the story. 

The DRV PNK stadium where the professional soccer team Inter Miami plays games on June 07, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Reports indicate the team has signed Argentine legend Lionel Messi as a free agent. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Because the most probable thing is that for all this time there haven’t really been any real options for the Argentine star to end up landing again in Barcelona and everything was part of an illusion carefully stoked by everyone without any possibility of it ever materializing. 

Messi is to play for Inter Miami, a team officially founded in 2018 when Major League Soccer (MLS) announced the South Florida city would host the North American competition’s 25th franchise.

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Messi’s choice is obviously not a sporting one, as he will play in a stadium with around 18,000 spectators, around 40 kilometers (131233.6 feet) (25 miles) north of Miami, until the completion of the new stadium, David Beckham Park, with a capacity for 25,000 spectators.

On the other hand, it does make enormous economic sense, as major companies have begun to move, starting with Apple, after the multinational recently struck a deal with MLS for the next 10 years in exchange for $2.5 billion, a figure that the company believes will work out thanks to the expected exponential growth in subscribers to Apple TV following the arrival of the world’s best player. 

For this, Apple and MLS have offered Messi a share of the television revenue of the US and Canadian soccer league.

Faced with all this, the only thing that could compete was Saudi Arabia’s offer of around 400 million Euros a year, which is now postponed and who knows if it will be a possibility in the future. 

It is obvious that, in this context, Messi could only return to the Catalan capital by being prepared to take a hefty financial loss and if everything had really been on the cards for his return. 

And none of that happened. There were questions about Barça’s viability plan, players who have not yet left would have to leave, the loss of income would have to be assumed while there were doubts in the ranks of the Barça fans over whether his return was the best idea or not and, finally, there is still the pain that still stings over the way the Argentinian star left Barcelona two years ago, in the middle of August.

Barça must come to terms with its difficult economic reality, give up trying for impossible operations and try to stabilize the organization. 

It’s hard to recognize this, but its economic capacity is far from that of the largest European teams and where the emphasis has to go is into the Masia – the youth development scheme – and into signings that are affordable and, if possible, are an absolute guarantee for the team’s template. 

It’s been just over two years since the arrival of Joan Laporta‘s board of directors and, with some mistakes, many things have been done right after finding the organization in a situation that was on the verge of disappearing in terms of how we have understood the club since its foundation. 

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It’s true that football is mainly about selling excitement to the fans. But that has to be on the pitch. The back rooms are something else and Barça must try to impose an economic rigour that has not yet been achieved. Because dreams are dreams. And Messi was just that, a dream.

Produced in association with El Nacional En

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond

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