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The question of where soccer legend Lionel Messi would live in South Florida has been answered – and it’s not Key Biscayne, Coral Gables or Boca Raton.

The Real Deal broke the story on Monday that Messi and his wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, acquired a 10,500-square-foot, eight-bedroom estate in Bay Colony in Fort Lauderdale for $10.75 million.

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Once Messi signed with Inter Miami, the speculation among the real estate set where he would live with his wife and three children started. Messi had been inquiring about places on the market throughout South Florida and as far north as Boca Raton.

Key Biscayne initially entered the conversation because in 2021 Messi rented a home at 440 Mashta Dr, for reportedly $200,000 a month. Former Police Chief Charles Press said Messi had his own security.

Cyril Bijaoui with Longstead at the Corcoran Group in Miami who specializes in high-end real estate, has said Messi might have been looking for a gated community to provide more privacy and security.

Bay Colony is a gated community and is considered one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in all of Fort Lauderdale, according to By The Sea Realty.

“I was surprised and a bit disappointed,” said Tatyana Chiochetti, executive director of the Key Biscayne Chamber of Commerce on hearing the news. 

“In my view, Key Biscayne is one of the more secure places to live but when you are a mega star like Messi things are a bit more complicated. Either way, it’s a big win for South Florida.”

Messi owns three luxury condos in Sunny Isles Beach, including a unit at sleek Porsche Design Tower but Bijaoui said that option wasn’t family-friendly.

But Messi chose Fort Lauderdale.

“He gets a lot more house in Fort Lauderdale than he does in Miami. He got a house on the waterfront for 1,000 bucks a foot,” Bijaoui said.

Inter Miami trains and plays in Fort Lauderdale at a new Drive Pink Stadium that just opened to great fanfare.

“I’m disappointed because I would have loved to have had him in Miami and the guy obviously can afford to be anywhere but I think it’s just a quality of life,” Bijaoui said. “All his friends are around there. The training center is nearby. It’s just a sensible choice.”

The eight-bedroom mansion is five miles away from the stadium and near his longtime teammate, Sergio Busquets who just purchased a $8.7 million waterfront home in Sea Ranch Lakes.

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Messi acquired the Bay Colony mansion through a company led by Messi’s wealth manager, Alfonso Nebot, the Real Deal reported.

The 1988-built home at 91 Compass Lane was sold by John and Stacy Dickerson, who purchased the property for $9 million in May of last year – a 20 percent boost in price in 16 months that reflects how high-end real estate is booming.

It sports 170 feet of water frontage with two docks, a pool, a gym, and what is described as an “Italian kitchen,” according to the listing. The master bedroom is 1,600 square feet.

In the meantime, Messi has transformed Inter Miami. He has led the team to eight wins and four draws.

Miami still might be the final destination for the Argentine and his family. Inter Miami plans to eventually relocate to Miami Freedom Park near Miami International Airport in an ambitious planned mixed-use development. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he moved closer to the stadium at that time,”  Bijaoui said. “But for now, you know, why not? It’s comfortable. I’m sure his family’s very happy.”

JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.