MLS

Messi reportedly close to agreement with MLS franchise Inter Miami

By Sports Desk November 27, 2022

Lionel Messi is close to an agreement to join MLS franchise Inter Miami at the end of the 2022-23 European season, according to a report in The Times.

The Argentina superstar is out of contract with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the campaign and has been continually linked with a return to Barcelona, whom he left in 2021, but The Times reports Messi will instead move to MLS.

Inter Miami are said to be 'confident' Messi will sign following the conclusion of the World Cup in Qatar, where he has scored in both of Argentina's group stage matches, though he would not move until the conclusion of PSG's season.

Co-owned by David Beckham, Inter Miami will reportedly make Messi the highest-paid player in MLS history and they are considering further additions to complement his arrival.

Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas, Messi's former team-mates at Barcelona, are specifically named as options, the former having enjoyed a brief second stint Uruguayan side Nacional earlier this year while Fabregas is in the Italian second tier with Como.

A move for Messi would occur midway through the MLS season, which begins in February, and would provide a huge boost to North American soccer ahead of the World Cup in 2026, which the USA will host alongside Canada and Mexico.

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    Angel Di Maria said he had dreamed of calling time on his international career with a trophy as Argentina beat Colombia in the Copa America final on Sunday. 

    Lautaro Martinez's fifth goal of the tournament secured Lionel Scaloni's side a record 16th title to move ahead of Uruguay as the most successful team in the competition. 

    Di Maria, who made 145 appearances for Argentina, received the player of the match award in his final outing for La Albiceleste at the Hard Rock Stadium. 

    The 36-year-old featured in all but one of Argentina's fixtures at the tournament, registering one assist in their 2-0 win over Peru in their final group game. 

    Di Maria announced in October that he would retire from international football after this year's Copa America, calling time on a glittering 16-year career. 

    The win also sees defender Nicholas Otamendi end his international career, while Lionel Messi is yet to decide whether he will participate in the 2026 World Cup. 

    Di Maria has played a key role in La Albiceleste's three major tournament triumphs in as many years. 

    The Argentine scored in both the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup final and said that his nation's latest success was the perfect way to bow out. 

    "The truth is, this was written, it was this way," Di Maria said. "I dreamed it, I dreamed that I would arrive to the final and win it and retire in this way.

    "I have so many beautiful feelings and I am eternally grateful to this generation and today I am leaving in this way with a title."

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    Footage circulated on social media showing fans breaking through one of the stadium's main gates, with police making several arrests while attempting to stem the flow of people.

    The gate was subsequently locked down, while supporters were seen receiving medical attention and asking for water in the stifling conditions.

    The Copa America's climax between Argentina and Colombia was due to begin at 8pm local time (1am BST), but Copa America confirmed that kick-off had been pushed back.

    "We would like to inform you that individuals without tickets will not be allowed entry into the stadium," they wrote on X.

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    Reigning champions Argentina are seeking a record-breaking 16th Copa America triumph, while Colombia target their second title - and first since 2001.

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    A tentative first half was devoid of gilt-edged opportunities as Spain dominated possession without reward against England's well-drilled defence.

    Phil Foden spurned the best chance before the break, but he volleyed tamely straight at Simon.

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    Yamal ghosted inside from the right flank before sliding across towards the left of the area for an unchallenged Williams to caress a left-footed strike into the bottom-right corner.

    Williams found space once more just minutes later, arrowing a left-footed drive wide from a similar angle to the opener.

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    Spain's failure to capitalise was punished eight minutes later. A sweeping Three Lions break saw Bukayo Saka roll inside for Jude Bellingham before his offload teed up Palmer, whose guided left-footed finish from outside the box found the bottom-left corner just three minutes after his introduction.

    Pickford was once again equal to Yamal eight minutes from time, parrying away another strong two-handed save after Olmo and Williams combined to set up their teenage team-mate.

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    Barcelona winger Yamal, aged just 17 years and one day, surpassed Brazil's Pele – at the 1958 World Cup – as the youngest-ever player to feature in a major tournament final.

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    England suffered heartbreak in the delayed Euro 2020 final after penalty shoot-out failure against Italy, and though they battled all the way, failed to make amends in their first international showpiece away from home soil.

    The Three Lions did themselves no favours immediately after the interval, conceding the fastest goal in the second half of a Euros final, continuing a concerning trend overall.

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