MLS chief to ‘compensate’ Lionel Messi’s family if he ditches PSG

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber has revealed that any plan to bring Lionel Messi to the United States will see the Argentine’s family compensated. The 35-year-old is scheduled to be a free agent this summer and the legendary forward star is in negotiations with his current club Paris Saint-Germain about extending his stay in the French capital.

Messi remains one of the best players on the planet after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar in December. With that said, if the MLS is going to entice him over to the United States, the league would have to come up with major compensation to make up his mind.

When Messi joined PSG, he reportedly signed a contract worth at least £22m ($26.4m) annually, as well as the same figure as a signing-on fee. Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne is currently the highest-paid player in the MLS with a salary of £11.6m ($14m) – almost double the previous record high.

Recent reports suggested Saudi Arabian clubs are interested in paying Messi a deal similar to rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s reported £62m ($75m) annual contract at Al Nassr. As a result, a mega offer would be needed to persuade Messi to move across the Atlantic – and Garber suggested the MLS could pull some strings.

He told The Athletic: “You’re dealing with perhaps the most special player in the history of the game. So when there are rumous of him connected to Miami, that’s great.

“And if it could happen, it would be terrific for MLS, it would be terrific for Messi and his family, and like everything with us, we try to run every opportunity down. I can’t give any more details than that because we don’t have them.”

He added that such a deal could see Messi’s family compensated, as he revealed: “We’re gonna have to structure a deal that’s going to compensate him in ways that he and his family expect.

“What that is? Honestly, we don’t know today, but he’s probably not going to be a [targeted allocation money] player.”

Messi’s signing would prove to be a monumental one for North American soccer, even eclipsing Pele’s move to the New York Cosmos in 1975.

Garber – who has been in his post since 1999 – admitted Messi would be an unprecedented signing even for the MLS, who has been the home of stars including Kaka, Steven Gerrard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham.

He even once referred to Beckham as the MLS’s Michael Jordan after he arrived from Real Madrid in 2007.

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