"Do a kickflip". That was the message on the white shirt Lionel Messi wore on Wednesday to give Sport and Mundo Deportivo, Catalonia's two sports newspapers, the scoop on where he will play in the coming seasons. Leo got tired of waiting for the empty promises of Barcelona, rejected the mountain of dollars that awaited him in Saudi Arabia and chose, again, thinking of his family. He's going to Inter Miami. And a new life plan is going to be put together.
What is doing a kickflip? "It's a neat and cool trick, which is basically a variant of ollie. In a kickflip, you jump vertically and then use your front foot to 'kick' the skateboard so that it spins in the air before landing," says Google's definition for those of us who are ignorant of skateboarding.
Surely he didn't think about it. Pure chance. The white shirt is very cute and the typography in the shape of mountains with snowy peaks could be the new hit of imitation fairs. But the pirouette, in the end, has something of a foreboding. Messi made a maneuver that was out of almost everyone's calculations. Those who thought he could be seduced by money or betrayed by his unrequited love for Barcelona or by his competitive instinct and his desire to win the Champions League again.
Perhaps because of that second option, Leo waited for Barcelona to accommodate his finances to finish the race there and, above all, to be happy again in the city that sheltered him after having to leave Rosario and in which at some point in his life he plans to return. But Joan Laporta, president of the Catalan club, only made promises for the stands. And the captain of the Argentine National Team feared being deceived again. Two years ago he had to leave through the back door because Barcelona could not fulfill what he had offered. I wasn't going to trip over the same stone twice. He couldn't wait to be let down.
The Arabia thing is different. It was a monumental, unparalleled offer. But that's not all. "I thought it was a lot of money," Leo blurted out. And not only that. Going to Al Hilal meant making a huge life change for the family. Messi did not seem willing to make another temporary move, with all that it implies for the education of his three children. All framed by a completely different culture.
From there, without wanting to play in another club in Europe other than Barcelona, the choice fell on Miami. Leo himself had already hinted a couple of years ago that he wanted to finish his career there. It intends to enjoy the day to day.
"Having won everything, today I look beyond sports. Today I look at the well-being of the family. Today I want to get out of the spotlight a little," he told Sport and Mundo Deportivo. And it is like this: he wants Miami to be his new place in the world to enjoy again the small moments that one sometimes does not value in life, such as taking the children to school. Something he could not do in Paris, where he recognized that he could not be happy.
Eye. He won't go for free, nor will he go on vacation. Behind it will have the money of the MLS and its two great partners: Apple, owner of the TV rights for ten years -and that is about to launch a documentary of Leo-, and Adidas, its old partner, which is the official supplier of the American league. It will be a three-year contract with options to terminate at the end of each season.
Yes, Messi did a kickflip. In the air he did a pirouette, and with a kick to Barcelona included, he flew from Paris to Miami. We will have to change the subscription of the streaming platform to see him shout goals and break records in soccer. That one that Pelé could not lift and that Leo will seek to take to the top, with the Copa America 2024 – his new great sporting objective – and the 2026 World Cup, shared with Mexico and Canada, just around the corner.