Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi set for richest deal in MLS history, summer move to Beckham’s Miami

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Lionel Messi is close to moving to Inter Miami next summer, where he’ll become the richest player in Major League Soccer history according to a sensational report in The Sunday Times.

Considered by many to be the greatest player of his generation, the 35-year-old Messi is still playing at an elite level with Paris Saint-Germain — and Argentina — and was expected to consider a return to Barcelona among several possible stops after his PSG contract expires this summer.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

A report in May said Messi would join Inter Miami and acquire 35% of the David Beckham’s club, as the Argentine already has a home in Miami as does close friend Luis Suarez. Speculation has linked Suarez and Cesc Fabregas to Inter Miami in moves that would be stratospheric for a league that has grown younger but also shown that world-class veterans can star late in their careers.

Messi to Miami: What it means for club, player, MLS

This is the rare deal that will make everyone with an MLS opinion nod at each other, whether defiant of the outdated “retirement league” criticism or those who think the league still needs big names to be relevant.

Messi is closing in on his 700th goal between Barca and PSG and has added 93 more for Argentina, with nearly 400 combined assists through club and country. He’s won seven Ballons d’Or and, according to FBRef.com, still ranks in the 99th percentile in net expected goals and assists, shot-creating actions, passes attempted, and progressive passes. He’d get some criticism from the diehard Cristiano Ronaldo and/or Real Madrid crowd and perhaps from those hoping he’d one day go home to Newell’s Old Boys, but Messi will be closer to Argentina and a closer event for South American and North American fans.

Inter Miami made its first playoff appearance in 2022, its third season in MLS. The club is coached by Phil Neville and boasted Messi pal Gonzalo Higuain until the player retired this summer. Alejandro Pozuelo is also out of contract and star Leonardo Campana was on loan from Wolves this season. Still on the roster are USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin, former Arsenal back Kieran Gibbs. Suffice it to say that if Pozuelo and Carlos Vela can affect a club the way they have in their 30s, Messi’s going to contend for every league honor a la Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Every single MLS club would sell out their dates against Inter Miami well in advance of the game. If you thought David Beckham was a box-office smash, get ready for something even bigger… if in fact this happens.

Lionel Messi: 2022 World Cup will be my last as a player

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Lionel Messi says this year’s World Cup will be his last as a player, the 35-year-old bowing out of international football before the 2026 tournament in North America.

“This will be my last World Cup, for sure,” Messi told a reporter in Argentina, via Fabrizio Romano. “The decision has been made.”

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 schedule ]

Messi will turn 39 during the 2026 World Cup, so this isn’t a terrible surprise, but he’s still not far from the top of his powers regardless of what the Ballon d’Or voters take before coming up with the shortlist (The reigning and record Ballon d’Or winner is not on the shortlist for this year’s award).

Argentina’s in Group C with Mexico, Poland, and Saudi Arabia. It’s wild to consider that Argentina’s last game could be the last time we see the world’s greatest player on a World Cup pitch.

For more on Lionel Messi’s World Cup history, read on…

Lionel Messi’s World Cup history

Messi’s World Cup debut came in 2006, and it was an announcement to the world of international football.

It was eight days before his 19th birthday. Messi came into Argentina’s second group-stage game and recorded a goal and an assist in 16 minutes versus Serbia-Montenegro. He’d make two more appearances but did not play in a quarterfinal loss to Germany.

Argentina’s 2010 World Cup also ended in the quarterfinals against Germany, as Messi went 90 minutes in all five games. He only managed an assist against Mexico in the Round of 16, as Argentina beat Nigeria, South Korea, Greece, and Mexico.

2014 saw Messi in magnificent form, scoring in every group game — wins over Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, and Nigeria — and then assisting the extra time winner against Switzerland in the Round of 16. Argentina then beat Belgium and the Netherlands before losing 1-0 in extra time to Germany in his lone World Cup Final to date.

The most recent World Cup nearly saw Argentina bounced in the group stage, but Messi scored in a 2-1 win over Nigeria to set up a Round of 16 match with France. Messi posted two assists in a 4-3 loss to the eventual champs. Current teammate Kylian Mbappe had two goals and drew a penalty to send Argentina home.


Where to Watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

 You can live stream the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Peacock in Spanish, or on FOX and FS1 in English.

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channel in English: Fox
  • TV channels in Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • World Cup in Spanish: Peacock

RELATED: 2022 Qatar preview, rules, format, rosters, match info & more

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WATCH: Lionel Messi spins gorgeous free kick goal past Nice’s Schmeichel

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Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.

The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.

As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi scores relentless Groningen goal ]

Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).

Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.

PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.

Lionel Messi free kick goal video

Messi scores two beauties, accosted twice as Argentina tops Jamaica 3-0

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HARRISON, N.J. — Lionel Messi responded to an in-game, on-field request for a signature with a signature goal.

Messi scored two goals and was twice accosted by fans running on the field as Argentina extended its unbeaten streak to 35 matches over three years by beating Jamaica 3-0 on Tuesday night in its next-to-last World Cup warmup match.

“You have to enjoy Messi,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said. “No matter your country, everyone does. I’m his coach, but I would buy a ticket to see him.”

[ MORE: Who will make the USMNT World Cup roster? ]

Julian Alvarez put Argentina ahead in the 13th minute. Messi entered in the 56th and increased his career total to 90 goals in 164 international appearances with his 17th multigoal game.

“There are no words to describe what he is,” Alvarez said. “Playing five, 10 minutes or all the match, he manages to do amazing things.”

A fan sprinted onto the field in the 65th minute and tried to take Messi’s photo. Messi stood and watched the spectator being subdued at his feet while the fan still tried to snap an image with his cell phone.

The six-time world player of the year, three months past his 35th birthday, doubled the lead when he beat Andrew Blake to the goalkeeper’s left on a 23-yard left-foot shot in the 86th minute after driving forward following a give-and-go with Giovani Lo Celso.

After his first goal, Messi was approached by a barechested fan who asked him to sign his back, and he started to scrawl a signature as three guards tackled the fan and more swarmed in.

Messi got another goal three minutes later after he was pulled down by Adrian Mariappa just outside the penalty area. Messi sent the kick through the defensive wall and just to the right arm of a sprawling Blake for his ninth free-kick goal for Argentina.

Messi scored four goals in Argentina’s two World Cup warmups this month, giving him 16 career goals in the U.S.

Fans erupted in applause less than a minute into the second half when Messi walked with teammates to a corner and started to warm up. A large percentage of the crowd appeared more focused on Messi stretching than they did the action on the field, and fans stood and made the stadium rumble when he entered for Lautaro Martinez and took the captain’s armband from Angel Di Maria.

Messi, who won his first senior title for Argentina at last year’s Copa America, still has more speed and quicker acceleration than most and his addition energized Argentina in the second half. He also forced Blake to make a pair of diving saves.

[ MORE: Saudi Arabia vs USMNT analysis, recap ]

Many in the sellout crowd of 25,000 in Red Bull Arena wore blue-and-white-striped Albiceleste jerseys, making it feel like an Argentina home game. Public address announcements were primarily in Spanish and ribbon boards flashed “Vamos Argentina!”

Alvarez put Argentina ahead after Nicolas Tagliafico passed from the flank to Martinez, who spun around Leon Bailey to open space and centered to the 22-year-old Alvarez. He slotted past Blake for his second goal in 11 international appearances.

Heading to its 13th straight World Cup, Argentina seeks to add to championships it won in 1978 with Mario Kempes and 1986 with Diego Maradona. Argentina has one remaining friendly, against the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 16 at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. At the World Cup in Qatar, Argentina opens against Saudi Arabia, which tied the United States 0-0 in an exhibition Tuesday, and then plays Mexico and Poland.

Argentina has 25 wins, including one on penalty kicks, and 10 draws since a 2-0 loss to Brazil at the Copa America on July 2, 2019.

Scaloni made eight changes from the starting lineup in Friday’s 3-0 win over 80th-ranked Honduras at Miami Gardens, Florida, inserting Di Maria and Giovani Lo Celso. Emiliano Martinez replaced Geronimo Rulli.

The Reggae Boyz, who finished sixth among eight nations in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, played in jerseys without names, in contrast to Argentina. Jamaica started a first-choice lineup in its first match under new coach Heimir Hallgrimsson that included Premier Leaguers Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey and Bobby Decordova-Reid and Blake, a Philadelphia Union standout.

USMNT, European review: Messi still Messi, Sargent shines again

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It wasn’t simply a great weekend for Leeds’ USMNT trio of Jesse Marsch, Tyler Adams, and Brenden Aaronson, but for others in the USMNT as well, and that’s where we’ll begin our review of Americans in the top tier of European football and the title races within those leagues.

A couple of USMNT strikers in Europe, Jordan Pefok of Union Berlin and Josh Sargent of Norwich City, made their cases for the World Cup roster with goal contributions.

[ MAJOR ‘LEEDS’ SOCCER: Aaronson post-match reaction | Marsch interview ]

Sargent scored a brace in a nice win for the Canaries when Norwich City beat Millwall 2-0 to join the Lions with a 2W-1D-2L record.

Sargent, 22, started over Teemu Pukki and built off the goal he scored against Huddersfield Town in Norwich’s first win of the Championship season. He is feeling good about his play up top.

“I naturally press the goalkeeper, it’s something I have inside of me,” Sargent said. “I’m hungry for the ball, so I like pressing. Huge credit tonight as well to Dowell and Nunez, they have great vision with the ball and put me in great positions to be able to finish them.”

Norwich gets Bournemouth next in a League Cup match, and Sargent’s role there will be worth watching, as will the USMNT players and European leagues we monitored this weekend. Dig into that, below.

[ MORE: 10 things we learned in the Premier League’s Week 3 ]


Ligue 1: Messi, Mbappe and PSG preen; Balogun scores for Reims

Talk about a message-sending win: Paris Saint-Germain smashed Lille, scoring in the first minute and four times before halftime of a rout. Lionel Messi assisted Kylian Mbappe’s opener and then scored in the 28th minute before Achraf Hakimi and Neymar got in on the action. Mbappe finished with a hat trick and an assist while Neymar finished with a brace and two assists in the 7-1 win.

Lille’s USMNT forward Timothy Weah missed the game through injury as PSG improved to a perfect 3-0 on the season. Elsewhere, USMNT eligible English youth international Folarin Balogun scored for Reims on loan from Arsenal, while Erik Palmer-Brown and Troyes were thrashed by Lyon.

La Liga: Villarreal, Real Madrid lead the way; Musah starts, sees yellow

There are still several 2-0 teams in La Liga and could be more before the end of the match week, but as of kickoff there are two who have really caught the eye. Villarreal improved to 2-0 by beating Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, while Real Madrid clobbered Celta Vigo 4-1 away.

As for USMNT players in Spain, Yunus Musah had a solid game in a 1-0 Valencia loss at Athletic Bilbao but was on a yellow card had to be withdrawn with a half-hour to play. Luca de la Torre had a decent, very short cameo in Celta Vigo’s 4-1 loss to Real Madrid. Sergino Dest wasn’t even in Xavi’s 23-man matchday squad vs Real Sociedad.

Bundesliga: Bayern scores 7 as the lone perfect side; Scally second

Bayern Munich scored seven goals for Julian Nagelsmann to give it 15 goals to go with a lone concession, a big win over Bochum leaving it the only 3-0 team in the German top flight.

There are USMNT players on two of the three teams to sit tied for second with seven points. We detailed Jordan Pefok’s Union Berlin heroics on Saturday — his goal and assist led Union — and Joe Scally went 90 minutes as Daniel Farke’s Gladbach improved to 2W-1D on the young season with a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin. Ricardo Pepi was a sub in Augsburg’s loss at Mainz.