Messi to Miami: What that means for real estate
Superstar could buy a splashy compound; serve as a magnet for other athletes
UPDATED, June 8, 4 p.m.:
The beautiful game’s most accomplished player has picked Miami as his new home. Real estate cannot wait.
For his next act, Lionel Messi turned down a gargantuan offer from Saudi Arabia – reportedly close to half a billion dollars annually – and chose to play for Inter Miami, the soccer club that counts David Beckham as a co-owner. Messi’s move advances Miami’s ambitions to become a global sporting destination and could serve as a magnet for other star athletes and their adoring, wealthy fans. The significance of this moment can’t be overstated — even for real estate brokers.
“This just put Inter Miami as the go-to place,” said Cyril Bijaoui of the Corcoran Group. “This also makes that part of the world even more excited about having a place in Miami,” he added, referring to Latin Americans. “He’s the equivalent of a god.”
“I made the decision that I’m going to Miami,” Messi told Mundo Deportivo. “If Barcelona didn’t work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more about myself.”
Messi could play in his first game at Drive Pink Stadium in Fort Lauderdale in July, according to the Miami Herald. He might start off crashing at his current Miami address, Dezer Development’s oceanfront Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, which he bought in 2019, when he was reportedly being courted by Inter Miami.
He now owns three units in Sunny Isles. He paid $5 million for a unit on the 47th floor at Porsche Design, and just over $1 million each for units on the 40th and 43rd floors of the nearby Trump Royale tower.
Dezer said that celebrities and athletes are drawn to Porsche Design Tower because of the patented Dezervator car elevator.
“They have the ability to come and go from their apartment without asking anyone for assistance,” Dezer wrote in a text. “Even celebrities don’t want to get dressed up just to walk out of the house.”
More than a year after closing on the Sunny Isles units, Messi’s family paid $7.3 million for the ninth-floor condo at Regalia, another oceanfront condo tower in Sunny Isles.
But these units are likely not enough for the GOAT, who has three children with his wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, and whose mansion in the Barcelona suburb of Castelldefels boasts a football field, a swimming pool, an indoor gym, and a children’s playground.
Which leads us to… what kind of trophy deals could be on the table?
Two years ago, Messi rented a waterfront mansion on Key Biscayne that was asking $200,000 a month.
“I really see him landing somewhere in Key Biscayne or south [Coral] Gables,” Bijaoui said.
So what do super athletes like Messi look for in their home selections? Privacy and ease are paramount, brokers said.
“Typically what we see with a superstar like Messi is we’ll see them rent somewhere and the money doesn’t matter,” said Compass’ Holly Meyer Lucas, who recently represented Max Scherzer, Major League Baseball’s highest-paid player, in his purchase of a waterfront estate in Jupiter.
“Most of the time, they’ve had to grind through the minor leagues, so when they have a ton of money, they just don’t want to deal with the bullshit,” Lucas added.
Messi’s deal has yet to be finalized, but the Athletic reported that it could include an unprecedented revenue-sharing deal with the MLS and Apple, as well as with league sponsor Adidas.
Because the current Inter Miami stadium is in Fort Lauderdale, Messi could look for a larger home in Broward County’s suburbs, like Weston, Davie or Southwest Ranches, said Ben Moss, who heads Compass’ sports and entertainment division. Messi’s contract reportedly runs for 2.5 years, with an extension option. Miami Freedom Park is expected to open as early as 2025.
Moss said most athletes look for a “man cave.” Think amenities like converted gyms with a steam room, sauna, cold plunge, hyperbaric chamber, bar and conference space with sports-bar-sized TVs. They also love home theaters, Moss said.
“Even though they love their families, they want a space where they can separate, maybe watch film,” he said.
The former Pinecrest mansion of retired All-Star baseball player David “Big Papi” Ortiz features a sports bar with a panel of nine high-definition screens and a “galaxy-like” custom home theater. Ortiz recently sold the estate for $10.6 million.
South Florida has long been a magnet for major celebrities and superstar athletes. Years after LeBron James left the Miami Heat and sold his waterfront Coconut Grove mansion, he purchased a condo at the Estates at Acqualina luxury condo project in Sunny Isles Beach. And Miami’s addition to the F1 circuit last year was another feather in its star-studded cap.
“Flying private is not weird here. Asking for a private table is not weird here,” said Lucas. “It’s very normal to be famous here.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified where some of Messi’s units are located.