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The Big Move

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For Barcelona fans, this was supposed to be the return of the prodigal son who had left under very unfortunate circumstances two years earlier. When news broke out that Jorge Messi, Lionel’s father and agent, had met with Joan Laporta, fans were excited that the talismanic striker would return to Camp Nou. Jorge Messi would even go on to say that his son was interested in returning. “Messi wants to return to Barca, and I would love him to return to it”, he had said. Forty-eight hours later, though, Messi had signed for Inter Miami, a club 7,539 kilometres from Barcelona across the Atlantic.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) club had beaten competition from Barcelona and Saudi Arabia’s top sign Messi. While this may have come as a shock, Messi’s move to the United States is perhaps the best he could have hoped for.

Across several parameters, including both footballing and non-footballing, Messi’s move to the MLS is a jackpot.

The Inter Miami-Adidas-Apple collaboration 

Before Messi decided on his future club, media reports stated that Adidas and Apple were more than willing for the talented Spaniard to go to Inter Miami. The two business giants are the sponsors of MLS and know that signing Messi was a way of increasing their revenue by staggering proportions.

Adidas was even ready to offer Messi a deal where he would earn royalties from the company’s sale, kind of what Michael Jordan did with Nike. This alone will land him worth $32 Billion in revenue and ensures that he still gets paid long after he has retired from the game.

Apple has also offered Messi a cut from the earnings the company will earn from the new subscribers joining the Apple plus TV, which is the MLS streaming platform following his arrival in the league. Apple has also announced a docu-series about the Argentine’s 2022 World Cup win, whose shooting will start soon.

Aside from that, even the initial offer for him to join the Major League Soccer (MLS) would see him earn millions, far more than what Barcelona and Saudi clubs could offer.

The lure of MLS and the 2026 FIFA World Cup 

One of the reasons why the Saudi league are going all out to sign top players is their attempt to establish themselves as a credible bidder for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. And it makes sense for them after witnessing the success of Qatar. However, the United States is one step ahead of Saudi, given they are already the co-hosts along with Canada and Mexico for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

And signing a player like Messi does raise the league’s global profile for the upcoming tournament. And if Messi retires from international and club football by 2026, he could have a serious chance of becoming the brand ambassador for the tournament. This move would definitely earn him millions.

In recent years, the league has also developed some brilliant world-class talent, such as Christian Pulisic and Alphonso Davies, among others. However, the league was for a long time looking for something that would take them to the next level, preferably on the path to becoming the most competitive league outside of Europe. Messi’s signing is an essential step in that direction.

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Tax Haven Florida 

Despite his amazing career, which he has won it all, Lionel Messi has been troubled over the years by allegations of tax fraud. A Spanish court had found Messi and his father, Jorge, guilty of defrauding the tax authorities for a sum of €4.1m between 2007 and 2009.

The duo were accused of using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to show reduced earnings from Messi’s image rights. While both suffered jail sentences, they only had to pay a fine as under Spanish law, any jail time under two years need not to be served if one pays the fine.

Throughout the world, several businesses use tax havens to avoid paying taxes. And Florida is one such tax haven, even more so for a non-US citizen.

In 2011, Lionel Mess approached the European Union Office for Intellectual Property to trademark his name. His application was initially rejected because ‘Messi’ sounded phonetically similar to ‘Massi’ rejected. Seven years later, the European Union’s second-highest ruling court overturned the decision.

In its verdict, the court granted Messi the trademark to his name, stating , “Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio.”

For a long time, all of Messi’s commercial and advertising rights to the image, voice, name and signature were under LEO MESSI MANAGEMENT SL, a company registered under Spanish law.

However, under United States law, Messi will need to establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for the same purpose. And anyone establishing a new LLC in Florida will have to pay one tax, the Florida franchise tax, which is only $150 per year.

In addition, under Florida law, anyone not filing their returns as a US citizen have the advantage of not paying any tax as they act as a borderless company. This means they do not even have to pay any sales tax, corporate tax, or inheritance tax.

In addition, information about the LLC is also protected under the law and is disclosed to the public. These include the name of the LLC owner, their addresses or even the company’s addresses. Furthermore, a single person can hold all the executive positions in the LLC.

On top of that, the state also has no personal income tax or a state property tax. The counties in the state do levy taxes, but they are less than one per cent.

There are other benefits to it as well as the judicial system is structured in a way that shields the LLC from getting sued. Florida even has an entirely different court system to solve cases related to LLCs specifically.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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