Lionel Messi has pulled off his latest stunning feat: He is headed to Major League Soccer, and joining Inter Miami.

After months — years, even — of speculation, Messi finally revealed his decision to join a Miami franchise that has been led by another global soccer icon, David Beckham, since its inception but has yet to make any real splashes on the field.

That likely will soon change. One of Inter Miami’s owners, Jorge Mas, tweeted out a photo of a darkly silhouetted Messi jersey shortly before the Argentinian great revealed his decision in interviews with Spanish news outlets Mundo Deportivo and Sport.

It was widely believed Messi eventually would choose to play for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, following longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo to a nation where some clubs now are funded by the state’s sovereign wealth fund. Going back to Barcelona, a storied franchise where he spent most of his career, was another possibility.

But in the end, he made the call that surprised many. Messi is joining MLS. He said in the interviews Wednesday that some final details still need to be worked out, but that he has made the call to “continue my path” in Miami.


UKRAINE: Ukraine appointed former Tottenham striker Serhiy Rebrov as coach of the men’s national soccer team as it aims to qualify for next year’s European Championship despite being unable to play at home because of the Russian invasion.

Rebrov, who signed a three-year contract, is the first permanent coach since Oleksandr Petrakov left in January and joined Armenia. Ukraine missed out on qualifying for last year’s World Cup under Petrakov, losing to Wales in the playoffs. Ruslan Rotan had been in interim charge for the 2-0 loss to England in March.

EUROPA: West Ham ended a 58-year wait for a European trophy after Jarrod Bowen scored in the 90th minute to secure a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final at Prague.

Bowen ran onto a through ball by Lucas Paqueta before beating goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano with a left-foot shot to complete a quick attack at Eden Arena.

Fiorentina couldn’t answer despite nearly eight minutes of injury time being played, setting off wild celebrations among the West Ham players as they danced in front of their fans after winning the London club’s second European title and first since the old European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.



PARIS: An IOC inspection team gave a resounding thumbs-up to Paris’ preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games, declaring “a very, very high level of confidence” despite unresolved questions about financing and security.

While new Olympic venues are on track, French auditors have flagged to parliament that they’re still unable to say how much the games will cost in total and what their final impact will be on public finances, once security and other expenses are factored in. Some 8.8 billion euros ($9.4 billion) are budgeted for Olympic construction and the Paris organizing committee, with more than a third of that from public coffers.


EASTERN LEAGUE: Johnathan Rodriguez went 2 for 3 and drove in four runs as the Akron RubberDucks beat the Portland Sea Dogs 9-6 at Hadlock Field, in a game delayed in the fifth inning by rain.

Rodriguez hit a two-run homer, drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and tacked on an RBI double. Bryan Lavastida was 3 for 4 with two RBI and a homer.

Touted rookie shortstop Marcelo Mayer was 2 for 4 with his first homer for the Portland Sea Dogs, a solo shot in the fourth inning. Chase Meidroth followed with a homer as well.



INDYCAR: Ed Carpenter Racing said it has ended its relationship with driver Conor Daly effective immediately and will announce a new driver for the No. 20 Chevrolet by IndyCar’s next race.

NASCAR: NASCAR issued another set of penalties for illegal modifications to its second-year Next Gen car, this time against Legacy Motor Club and driver Eric Jones.

NASCAR said the team modified the greenhouse on the No. 43 Chevrolet and fined crew chief Dave Elenz $75,000 and suspended him one race. Both Legacy and Jones were also docked 60 points and five NASCAR playoff points.


WOMEN’S HOCKEY: One of the most decorated coaches in women’s hockey history has stepped down after nearly 30 years leading Harvard’s women’s hockey program in the shadow of allegations by players that she engaged in abuses and other misconduct during her tenure.

The school said Katey Stone had made the decision to retire from coaching. The six-paragraph announcement came after The Boston Globe published a report in January detailing the accounts of multiple players who alleged Stone ran a program rife with verbal abuse, hazing and pressure to return prematurely from injuries.

Harvard initiated a review after one alleged incident last season, the Globe reported, but ultimately decided to keep her as coach.

Stone, 57, has not publicly addressed allegations raised in the Globe report.

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