Major League Soccer Hoping to Attract Lionel Messi With Promise of His Own Franchise

Major League Soccer Hoping to Attract Lionel Messi With Promise of His Own Franchise

Byron Pillay
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:28 PM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
  • Lionel Messi will become a free agent at the end of the season once his contract with Paris Saint-Germain ends
  • Inter Miami are eager to sign him next season and Major League Soccer could make exceptions to get it done
  • David Beckham was signed for a low wage but given a chance to own an MLS franchise, which is what he did

Could Lionel Messi still wind up in Major League Soccer next season?

The league's commissioner, Don Garber certainly hopes so and is willing to make exceptions to bring the superstar to MLS.

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Major League Soccer could make Lionel Messi an offer he can't refuse in hopes of attracting him to America. Image: Clive Brunskill.
Source: Getty Images

MLS outfit, Inter Miami have made no secret that they want the World Cup winner next season. The league's financial restrictions may scupper any deal, but Phil Neville's team aren't giving up hope yet.

The side, co-owned by David Beckham, are looking to sign Messi once his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires. The Argentine is in the final few months of his deal and is therefore allowed to negotiate with other teams.

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If Inter Miami isn't enough to entice Messi, Garber is considering offering the World Cup winner the chance to own a MLS franchise.

Is that possible for Messi?

Due to MLS rules placing a cap on how much each team is allowed to spend, one option would be to lure Messi with a low wage, but the chance to create his franchise for a low price, Goal reported.

The method was used to get David Beckham to the United States and his Inter Miami franchise is now valued at approximately $600 million.

What is MLS' salary cap?

As noted by 90min, MLS uses a salary cap which ensures all teams spend the same amount of money on players. Unlike Europe, the league ensures there's a level financial playing field for all teams.

For the 2023 season, the salary cap is $5.2 million. There's also a further $1.9 million available for General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money.

MLS and The Beckham Rule

There are also exceptions made for designated players, those being big-name talents who either come to the league from Europe or are American stars returning to the league.

The exception is sometimes referred to as The Beckham Rule because it was made to bring in the former England international.

Messi close to Miami deal

Sports Brief previously asked if Messi is willing to agree on a deal with Inter Miami.

This move would see him become the highest-ever paid player in the history of MLS.

Messi could reportedly be open to seeing out the remainder of his career in the USA.

Byron Pillay photo
Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.