Five things to know about soccer star Lionel Messi’s deal with Inter Miami

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If MLS’ goal was to capture the fascination of the sports world, then mission accomplished.

With the announcement that 35-year-old superstar Lionel Messi intends to play for Inter Miami, there is euphoria, but what are the details that soccer fans — and Messi fans want to know?

Let’s try to answer a few of them

How long will Messi play for Inter Miami?

According to a source familiar with the terms of the deal, Messi has a contract for two and a half years, with an option year for 2026.

How much will Messi make in the deal?

Messi’s complicated deal will include salary, bonuses and equity in the team. It is valued between $125 million and $150 million. League sponsors Apple and Adidas are still working on deals with Messi and will be based on the growth of revenues Messi generates.

How much of a difference can Messi make?

For starters, Inter Miami is adding 2,500 to 3,000 seats to DRV PNK stadium. It’s safe to say capacity will increase to 22,000. Miami Freedom Park is scheduled to open in March of 2025. Imagine what opening night would like like with Messi starting? Even at 35, Messi is one year removed from leading Argentina to the 2022 World Cup.

Will MLS add any additional incentives for Messi?

MLS is not subsidizing the deal, and there is no option for team ownership like it did for David Beckham when he arrived in 2007. Beckham, of course, is part-owner of the Inter Miami franchise.

And finally, when will Messi play for Inter Miami?

If all goes according to plan, Messi would join the team in July. The target date for his first game with Inter Miami is July 21 at DRV PNK Stadium vs. Mexican team Cruz Azul in the inaugural Leagues Cup. And in case you’re wondering what jersey number he will wear team co-owner Jorge Mas has a photo in Twitter of Messi’s familiar No. 10 and all you can see at the top is “si.”