It’s not Philly, but Lionel Messi is on the verge of coming to Major League Soccer:

Bringing in a guy like Messi is a no brainer. He’s the best player in the world and probably the best of all time, depending on how you feel about Cristiano Ronaldo. Pulling someone like Messi, who is 35 and has quality years remaining, gives MLS a boost that we haven’t seen since David Beckham signed for the LA Galaxy in 2007.

Details aren’t completely confirmed, but the guys at The Athletic outlined some of the things that are being discussed:

Multiple sources involved in or briefed on the high-level league discussions said earlier this week that MLS and Apple have discussed offering Messi a share of the revenue generated by new subscribers to MLS Season Pass, the league’s streaming package on Apple TV+. Both sides view Messi’s potential involvement in Major League Soccer as a boon; Apple and MLS signed a 10-year, $2.5 billion agreement this spring. On Tuesday, Apple revealed that a four-part docuseries chronicling Messi’s five World Cup appearances would stream on Apple TV+.

Adidas, which is among MLS’ largest corporate sponsors, has prepared its own potential arrangement to entice Messi to the United States, multiple sources briefed on those plans told The Athletic on Tuesday. Messi is being offered a profit-sharing agreement with the sportswear giant, those sources said, which would involve the player receiving a cut of any increase in Adidas’ profits resulting from his involvement in MLS.

This all might seem crazy if you’re a four-for-four fan, but MLS always has to get creative when doing big things like this. For instance, when Beckham came here, there was no mechanism to pay him what he was worth. The salary cap wasn’t high enough. So MLS created something called the “Designated Player” rule, which allowed each team to pay up to three players any amount of money beyond the cap. LA had some players back then making less than $100k while Beckham raked in millions. They also offered him an ownership stake in a future expansion team, which became… Miami.

Consider, too, that when Messi comes here, Apple is going to bag millions of new subscriptions around the globe. So while casual Philly sports fans can’t watch the Union on PHL 17 anymore, and didn’t want to pay for Apple TV+, Major League Soccer is now offsetting that loss with global subs from Argentina, Europe, and pretty much everywhere else. This is what they envisioned when they launched this strategy. They’re losing 47 year old Bobby from South Philly, but gaining 27 year old Rodrigo from Argentina. They’re putting global eyeballs on the product and forfeiting local casuals.

Anyway, once this is final, Lionel Messi playing against the Union in Chester is a real thing. Doop doop, motherfuckaz.