Inter Miami’s staggering Lionel Messi contract details revealed

Lionel Messi’s new contract with Inter Miami will reportedly pay him between $50-60 million annually, per Alex Silverman of Sports Business Journal. It is by far the largest annual contract value in MLS history.

This is a 2.5 year deal, and that salary encompasses Messi’s signing bonus and his equity in Inter Miami. Messi will receive make significant additional compensation from MLS’s major partners, including Apple, Adidas and Fanatics.

Messi’s contract rivals the largest in America’s most popular sports. $50 million annually is around the upper limit for NBA and NFL contracts.

Outside of Messi, Xherdan Shaqiri of the Chicago Fire will earn the most among all MLS players. His salary for the 2023 season is $8.2 million.

Messi’s contract structure is similar to the one David Beckham signed with the L.A. Galaxy in 2007. Beckham’s contract included a clause that allowed him to buy an MLS expansion team upon retirement. He is now an owner of Inter Miami itself.

While his deal far surpasses any other MLS contracts, it pales in comparison to his other offer. Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal was prepared to pay Messi $1.5 billion over three years. Such a large contract doesn’t even begin to make sense economically.

Inter Miami’s contract offer might not be financially viable either, at least in the short run. However, bringing Messi to the MLS is huge for the sport, which hasn’t been massively popular in the United States. Messi instantly becomes the face of the league, Inter Miami becomes the most interesting club, and hopefully the sport grows in popularity.

The contract shouldn’t be looked at as an overpayment. It’s an investment in the future of the league. If this is the catalyst that ramps up interest in MLS, then Inter Miami’s gamble will pay off.