SZNAP CHAT – JUNE 15
By Adam Sznapstajler

MESSI TO MIAMI!?

What has been a long running joke in South Florida is close to losing its punchline. After years of promises of legit starpower that has so far culminated in Gonzalo Higuan and Blaise Matuidi, Inter Miami seems to have finally caught its whale in international superstar Lionel Messi.

Due to financial mismanagement, as well as effects from the pandemic, Messi’s current team Barcelona finds itself over one billion in debt. Scrambling to resolve this issue, as well as keeping possibly the greatest soccer player of all time, Barcelona has entered into negotiations with Inter Miami and Messi on a ten year contract.

According to the Miami Herald, this would include Messi staying in Barcelona for two years before heading to Miami for two seasons starting when he is 35 years old. Overall his four playing years would earn him a total of $293 million, or $73 million per year.

One other sign pointing towards Messi making his way to South Florida is the $7.3 million dollars he just spent on an entire floor of a Sunny Isles Condominium. Messi also recently became an brand ambassador for Hard Rock International, an organization who has a large presence in South Florida.

Lastly, I think the MLS has way too much to gain from Messi coming here.  The league has come too far to fail. The second he dons an Inter Miami kit, Mess will have elevated the status of the MLS worldwide.  So, it’s in the best interest of the MLS to do everything in its power to make this happen.

Although it is fun to gossip about the potential for one of the greatest players of all time coming to Miami, its also important to figure out whether it is the prudent move soccer wise. This is especially important when factoring in that Messi will be 35 in his first year in Miami. My answer here is easily a resounding yes.

The closest comparison to Messi coming to the MLS would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s two seasons with the LA Galaxy, which saw the team stuck in the middle of the table despite his performance. If this were the case, that would be an improvement over the teams current trajectory. However, I truly believe this understates the impact Messi would have.

Here’s the good news.  Messi is not a selfish jerk and takes pride in raising the game of his teammates around him. That is exactly why I think he will thrive in the MLS. Messi will draw defenses and be able to spread out the pitch for his entire team. This will instantly make offense easier for the entire team. Not to mention, at 35, Messi will still be most likely faster and craftier than everyone in the MLS.

I hope I am not sounding too much like a hopeful fan hear. Due to the reporting, I truly believe that Messi will be playing for Inter Miami in the 2023 MLS season and, boy, do I hope I’m correct. I will give one piece of advice to Inter Miami fans, don’t sell those season tickets just yet.

Check out my weekly column every Tuesday. Until then, sayanora from South Florida!