The consultancy that advised Lionel Messi's move to Inter Miami

18 August 2023 2 min. read
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Since his arrival in Miami, Lionel Messi has lit up the soccer scene in the US. But the World Cup winning forward might never have arrived Stateside at all, if it weren’t for the help of professionals from Alvarez & Marsal, who advised Messi on the tax logistics of his move.

When Lionel Messi announced his intention to move to the US, to become the new number 10 of Inter Miami CF, it raised a few eyebrows. Months after finally securing the one trophy which eluded him – the FIFA World Cup – the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner had left guaranteed Champions League football with Paris Saint German, to join the club propping up the MLS’ Eastern Conference.

At 36 years old, could Messi really be relied on to carry a club that started the season under the ‘guidance’ of Phil Neville up the table? One month, and six matches later, the results speak for themselves.

The consultancy that advised Lionel Messi's move to Inter Miami

Messi has consistently provided pure box office for Inter Miami, notching up nine goals in the CONCACAF Leagues Cup – contested by clubs from the top leagues of Mexico and the US – propelling the Herons to the final, and their first opportunity to win silverware. Should Miami triumph in the final over Nashville, they will also receive a direct route to the last 16 of the CONCACAF Champions Cup – North American football’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.

But the influential number 10’s arrival was never guaranteed. With interest in Messi’s signature from around the world – including Saudi Arabia, where the state-oil-fuelled enhancement of the top division has already drawn stellar names such as a post-Manchester-United-collapse Cristiano Ronaldo, Kalidou Koulibaly and Jordan Henderson – it obviously was going to take a mega-deal to draw Messi to the MLS’ bottom-club.

As such, Inter – co-owned by Jorge and Jose Mas, with former England captain David Beckham – put together a financial package that Messi couldn’t refuse. The club previously announced that Messi's deal will be for two and a half seasons and will pay him between $50 million and $60 million annually – putting the total contract value between $125 million and $150 million in cash alone.

Such a princely sum also brings with it notable tax burdens, however. Messi has fallen foul of tax authorities before. In 2017, a court found Messi and his father each guilty of three counts of defrauding tax authorities of €4.1 million, between 2007 and 2009. Keen to avoid a similar fate in his new home, Messi’s move across the Atlantic therefore hinged on some sound advice from tax experts at Alvarez & Marsal.

According to a brief release from the firm, “A&M Tax served as US tax advisor to FIFA World Cup Champion and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, on his historic decision to join Inter Miami CF and Major League Soccer.”

The release added that the A&M Tax team involved was led by experts Ernie Perez and Juan Carlos Ferrucho. So, if Vice City should prevail on Sunday in the CONCACAF Leagues Cup, their fans will know who to thank.