MLS commissioner Don Gerber says getting Lionel Messi will likely require a creative deal like David Beckham, but the league and Inter Miami are looking to buy the Argentine superstar. He said he was willing to be flexible in finding a suitable compensation package to earn.
Messi is out of contract this summer and is in talks with his current club, Paris Saint-Germain, about a contract extension. He is also discussing a possible move to Inter Miami. The World Cup winner, who turns 36 in June, continues to be one of the best players in the world, winning his golden ball at the World Cup in November.
“You’re dealing with probably the most special player in the history of gaming,” Garber said in a wide-ranging interview. athletic on thursday. “So when there are rumors that he’s involved in Miami, it’s great. If it happens, it’s great for MLS and great for Messi and his family. I can’t give you more details.”
However, if MLS acquires Messi, they will have to come up with a deal that can meet the hefty rewards he commands. athletic The Argentinian is reported to have signed contracts for at least €25 million in net annual value, in addition to his €25 million signing fee. According to recent reports, Saudi Arabian clubs are interested in signing Messi to a deal similar to Cristiano Ronaldo’s reported $75 million annual deal at Al Nasr.
Toronto FC’s Lorenzo Insigne is currently the highest-paid player in MLS, with a base salary of $14 million, nearly double the previous record.
“The team has the flexibility to do their own thing,” says Garber. “MLS is a single entity. If you sell something that the collective owns, the collective has to approve it. If MLS Executive Vice President) Todd (of Durbin) can help us build something, if we get the chance to do it, it’s going to be out of the box.
“Because Ronaldo is $100 million and we know what’s going on in international football today… the transfer market is exploding in unimaginable ways. In ways he and his family expect. We need to get a deal in place to compensate him.
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Garber admitted that Messi would be an unprecedented signing to the league, home to many international stars, including Beckham, Kaka and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. once called him the Michael Jordan of MLS.
When Beckham joined the MLS in 2007, he was 31 years old and one of the most famous footballers in the world. To close the deal, Beckham’s contract included a clause that included an option to purchase the MLS expansion franchise for his $25 million.
Gerber revealed some previously unknown details of the deal on Thursday.
“(Beckham) had to play five years in the league, and (and) when he came in, Toronto bought (the 13th MLS expansion spot) for $10 million,” Garber said. Basically, if you stay in the league long enough and you have 20 teams in 5 years and you have to play for that period of time, they said they would give you a $25 million option. You can’t, you have to choose a team, you have to build a stadium.
“If you’re a bettor, the odds of that happening are pretty close to zero. And it happened. We had a team in New York, and David struggled, We had a tough time, it wasn’t $25 million, we had to put a lot more together in the end and get an ownership group.
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“So for me, that deal worked out very well for him and for Major League Soccer. We’ll see how that unfolds with another player from .
Garber said in 2017 that the league would never make a deal like Beckham’s again, but this week he retracted that statement.
“[Former MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott]used to say, ‘Don’t ever say that, because it’s never a long time,'” Garber added with a laugh. But there were a lot of them.”
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