Lionel Messi has reportedly decided to sign a contract with Inter Miami. Even without a deal in place, the news has already had an effect on the MLS team’s future odds. Messi would be the highest-profile player to sign a contract to play in Major League Soccer. Oddsmakers for multiple online sportsbooks have already taken note of how it could affect Inter Miami’s chances.
Below, we’ll take a look at the odds related to Messi’s potential move to MLS. We’ll also evaluate what it could mean for the league and Inter Miami.
Inter Miami futures odds after Messi news
Inter Miami is 5-0-11 on the season so far, leaving the team in last place in the Eastern Conference. Prior to news of Messi’s imminent signing, Inter Miami was one of the consensus biggest underdogs to win this year’s MLS title. On Tuesday, Caesars Sportsbook had the team at +20000 to win the league. A day later, after news broke of Messi’s decision, Inter Miami’s odds shifted to +10000 and continue to fall ().
Similarly, FanDuel Sportsbook had Inter Miami at +20000 to win the MLS Cup on Tuesday. Those odds are also falling (), putting Inter Miami essentially in the middle of the MLS field after it had been the league’s biggest long shot a day earlier. Currently, the best odds for Inter Miami to win the MLS title are .
Those dramatic shifts in odds are a testament to the impact people expect a player of Messi’s caliber to make. During his time with Barcelona, he led the club to a record 10 titles in Spain’s La Liga, as well as four UEFA Champions League titles. Messi was also the captain of the Argentine team that won the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Even at 35 years old, he scored seven goals — just one off the tournament lead.
When will Messi play for Inter Miami?
There are mixed reports on when people can place match bets on Inter Miami when Messi plays. Initial reports on Messi’s move to MLS suggested that the Argentine star could debut as early as July. This would be during the month-long Leagues Cup between MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX, set to begin for Inter Miami on July 21. The team hosts Cruz Azul at the start of group play.
Other reports have suggested that Messi might not show up on the pitch for Inter Miami until August. MLS league play will be on pause from July 21 until late August to allow for the Leagues Cup. Inter Miami’s next MLS match following the conclusion of the tournament will be at home against Charlotte FC on Aug. 20.
Messi is expected to play in two international friendlies for Argentina in June. A match against Australia is scheduled for June 15 and another against Indonesia on June 19.
Why did Messi decide to sign with Inter Miami?
Messi played most of his professional career with Barcelona before leaving the team at the end of the 2020-2021 season. His contract with the team had expired, and financial issues within the club meant Barcelona was unable to sign him to a new contract. Messi then signed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain of France’s Ligue 1. While there, he helped PSG win two league titles. He ended his second season as the Ligue 1 assist leader.
At the end of his two-year contract, there was talk that Messi might accept a two-year offer worth more than $1 billion to play in Saudi Arabia. Messi ultimately decided against that option. Reports said that his two most likely destinations were back to Barcelona or across the Atlantic to MLS. Barcelona’s ongoing financial issues may have made some of the difference. Major League Soccer is reportedly willing to get “very creative” with contract offers that include various revenue-sharing options.