Lionel Messi rejected Saudi Arabia’s billion-dollar offer and sealed the deal with Inter Miami in MLS. The David Beckham owned club added 262,500 Instagram followers every hour, making it the most followed MLS club.

Via Facebook / @Leo Messi

“I’ve taken the decision that I am going to Miami,” said football legend Lionel Messi. And with that one statement, the tables have turned! As per estimates, Inter Miami has added 2.8 million Instagram followers in the last few hours (a million in under 60 minutes after the announcement) , taking the numbers as high as 5 million. So incredible is Messi’s fan following that the social media account is gaining 73 new followers per second, making Inter Miami the most followed MLS club. On the flip side, the end of his contract with Paris St-Germain has also affected the club’s social media following, proving that all fans care about at the end of the day, is Messi.

When Messi visited Saudi Arabia in May this year, it was rumored that the superstar would be joining the Al Hilal club.Via Instagram / @leomessi

When the Argentinian footballer joined PSG in 2021, their popularity soared from 38 million to 70 million followers on Instagram. Messi’s move to Inter Miami is reflected on PSG’s Instagram account, showing 67.8 million followers, indicating that the club has already lost 2 million Instagram followers in the last week alone. The move to Miami doesn’t only benefit the club but Lionel as well.

David Beckham is one of the partners in Inter Miami.Via Instagram / @intermiamicf

His lucrative contract with the MLS club may include new deals with Adidas and Apple. There were rumors of Messi heading to Barcelona, which he put to rest. ‘I really wanted to return to Barcelona, I was very excited to be able to return, but after having experienced what I experienced and the exit I had, I did not want to be in the same situation again: waiting to see what was going to happen and leaving my future in hand from another.’

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Via Facebook / @Leo Messi

He continued, ‘I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about myself, about my family. Although I heard that it was said that LaLiga had accepted everything and that everything was fine for him to return, there were still many other things that had to be done,’ said Messi Messi decided to head to Miami, a city where he already owns property and play for Inter Miami, which is part-owned by another living football legend, David Beckham.

Sounds like a win-win for everyone involved. Per Bleacher Sports, the cheapest ticket for Inter Miami’s July 21st match before the Argentinian icon signed was just $29. The same is selling for nearly $500 now!

Messi and his family in Saudi Arabia.Via Instagram / @leomessi

Wasnt Lionel Messi Saudi Arabia bound?
Last month, football fans were nearly convinced of Messi following rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps and moving East. Apparently, Saudi Crown Prince MBS offered Lionel Messi a deal he cannot refuse, a stellar $400 million annual contract to play with the Saudi Pro League. Spotting Messi and his family enjoying the Saudi Arabian sights and hospitality fueled the fire. The family visited At-Turaif, the 300-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site in Diriyah, and were seen feeding Arabian gazelles on an authentic Saudi farm and interacting with purebred Arabian horses.

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Messi in Jeddah.Via Facebook / @Leo Messi

The trip occurred after Messi’s suspension from Paris Saint-Germain, and it seemed like the forward would sign the dotted line. Now it is clear that definitely isn’t happening, as Messi commented, “I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami. I still haven’t closed it 100%. I’m missing some things, but we decided to continue on the path.” He added, “If it had been a matter of money, I would have gone to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me, and the truth is that my decision was for the other side and not for money.”

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.