We were all in shock when Inter Miami, the lowest ranked MLS team in America, snafued soccer’s arguably greatest ever player, Lionel Messi.
Messi could easily have headed over to Saudi Arabia, as did the great Cristiano Ronaldo, and been part of the sportswashing movement, but he didn’t. Word has it that his wife had no interest in living in Saudi Arabia, with its male guardianship system that is entrenched with systemic gender-based discrimination in most aspects of family life. That makes him a BIG man in my books, even though Messi is only 5’7” tall.
Since childhood, Leo has been affectionately called “La Pulga” (“The Flea”). Tiny fleas can jump up to 7” vertically and 33” horizontally. Their body shape allows them to move around effortlessly. They use an elastomeric protein to enhance muscle capacity when jumping, which gives them incredible velocity. Yup, that pretty much describes Messi - he is a force to be reckoned with!
At a certain point, money doesn’t matter. Messi is a highly accomplished family man with 3 growing children who wants to live an unassuming life. He hopes he can do that in Miami, though a recent Publix grocery store mobbing might have put a damper on that.
Leo’s roots are also important to him. South Florida sports the largest Argentinian population in the United States, where his mother tongue (Spanish) is the 2nd most popular language spoken. And to many who look upon America from the outside, there is the allure of the American dream in which anything is seemingly possible, unlike Europe where old family money reigns.
Messi will have more control of his life than he ever could attain by playing for Al Hilal, which reportedly threw $545 million at him. In addition to a $50-60 million annual salary from Inter Miami, he has a profit-sharing deal with Apple TV and Adidas, as well as an option to purchase a minority stake in the Club. Former soccer star David Beckham, co-owner of Inter Miami and Messi’s future business partner, has already shown that by taking 2 steps backward you can take 10 steps forward.
In a rapid, but not unexpected turn of events, the most expensive front row midfield seats at DRV PNK Stadium cost an astounding $23,737 to watch Friday’s first Inter Miami Messi match, with average ticket prices skyrocketing from $152 to $850, according to TicketiQ. Principal Club owner Jorge Mas must be dancing with delight, as his MLS franchise has increased dramatically in value. In parallel, his own family infrastructure Company is completing Miami Freedom Park, a 25,000 seat soccer-specific stadium whose promise of annual tax revenue and employment creation has garnered considerable support. If the average ticket price of $850 remains the same when the stadium is ready to accept fans in 2025, Mr. Mas will receive $21,250,000 per game in ticket sales alone. In essence, his $50-$60 million salary for Messi is just a drop in the bucket. Inter Miami is currently valued at more than $600 million, with projections that it will be worth more than $1.5 billion within 3 years. Messi will own a piece of that pie.
Lionel’s contract will keep him in Miami until the end of 2025. By then, 2026 World Cup furor will be in full swing and all eyes will be on his new homeland, America.
In the meantime, let’s support our homegrown soccer greats, who are currently playing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia & New Zealand. They annihilated Vietnam in their first round: 3-0. The second round against the Netherlands will be held tomorrow at 9 PM EDT, followed by Portugal on August 1st at 3 AM EDT. The USWNT is the most decorated Women’s World Cup soccer team in the World.
Now that you’ve read today’s blog, why not take what you’ve learned and play today’s matching quiz on our Quizefy app.? Many of the answers can be found right here.
We publish an on-trend, hint-filled blog at www.quizefy.com every Tuesday, along with a matching quiz in our Quizefy app. We think they’re a great combination and a great way to Strut Your Smart.
Next Tuesday, August 1st, we cover “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”, which hits North American theaters on August 2nd. Interestingly, there is also a family grocery store scene in the movie. Was Messi paid to kick start that? LOL.