Wherever Lionel Messi goes, he takes considerable baggage with him. Admittedly most of his suitcases are filled with Ballons d’Or, Champions League winners’ medals, and enough entries in various history books to set up his own library, but there are plenty of intangibles to take into account as well that cannot be shoved into an overhead locker.
The enigmatic Argentine will be the center of attention on whatever stage he graces, with a level of celebrity built up over the years that transcends not only his chosen profession but seemingly his standing as a mere mortal. One of the most iconic sportsmen of this or any other generation has become almost unworldly.
Any team looking to draft him into their ranks will need to free up considerable space in their squad for another giant ego along with plenty of room in their bank account for a lucrative contract. Paris Saint-Germain took that punt in 2021 and are now +700 in online sports betting to claim a prestigious European crown for the first time.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 15, 2022
Messi, along with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, was acquired to deliver on that remit, but how long he sticks around at Parc des Princes remains to be seen. He only committed to an initial two-year contract when swapping life in the familiar surrounds of Barcelona for that in the French capital and there has already been talk of him growing restless.
Whether another change of scenery is sought this summer or 12 months down the line in 2023, a line of suitors willing to throw stacks of cash and wild promises of on-field ambition at the iconic South American will be lengthy.
Will Messi chase an American dream?
It has been suggested for some time now that Messi’s next port of call, whenever the day comes for him to pack his bags again, will be somewhere in the United States. He has flirted with the idea of chasing an American dream in the past and appears tailor-made for MLS.
Said speculation has been fueled again of late by Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas, who is hoping that David Beckham’s presence in Fort Lauderdale can prove decisive in efforts to lure another marquee signing to Florida.
He has said: “I think, and David has a relationship with him, if he does leave PSG, at the time he leaves, we’d love to see Lionel Messi be a player at Inter Miami and be part of our community.”
Mas added that sealing a major coup on the recruitment front is “a possibility” and he could “see that happening” if Messi were to open himself up to talks regarding a Stateside switch.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 27, 2020
There would be plenty of hurdles to clear and boxes to tick in order to make that dream a reality, but nobody expected a move away from Barcelona to be made and anything would appear possible when Manchester United and England great Beckham is involved.
He knows better than most what is like to be the star attraction in a traveling circus, and made his own move to Los Angeles back in 2007, so should have few problems constructing a Big Top in which another legendary ringmaster can do his thing.
It remains to be seen whether that show will ever head to the USA, but doors are being nudged open and Messi could see his version of Cirque du Soleil – with thrills and spills aplenty delivered by a mercurial sporting magician – take on more of a Cirque du LA feel at some stage in the near future.