The Inter Miami president has revealed how he secured the transfer after a laborious four-year effort
Inter Miami president David Beckham went to extraordinary lengths to bring Lionel Messi to MLS, sneaking into his father’s hotel to first float the idea.
Beckham revealed the origins of the Messi transfer in a conversation on The Overlap, speaking to a panel of ex-players including former teammates Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane.
“My vision was always to bring the best players,” Beckham explained. “I sneaked into Messi’s dad’s hotel about four years ago in Barcelona for a meeting with him.”
“Obviously at that point we weren’t ready to bring him and he wasn’t ready to come, but I told his dad ‘We want your son. We want him in Miami, when he’s ready.’ We continued the conversation with my partners Jorge and Jose Mas and we just worked on it for about four years.”
David Beckham admitted that he has been surprised by the scale of Lionel Messi’s impact in Miami. CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICHEFE
Inter Miami were founded in 2018 but only played their first MLS fixture at the start of the 2020 season. Within a week of their first league fixture the covid-19 pandemic brought about a major suspension and it wasn’t until two years later that the prospect of signing Messi really materialised.
“When he was at PSG, we saw an opportunity,” Beckham said. “All of a sudden everything aligned.”
“To bring someone like him to the club, we knew it would change the club and it would change the league, but it’s beyond that.”
Messi “teaching the young kids” in Miami
Lionel Messi has proved a transformative signing for Inter Miami on the pitch, scoring or assisting in every game as the team made a sensational run to win the Leagues Cup. Messi made his Miami debut in the first round of the competition and drove the team to the first trophy in club history.
His on-field importance has been highlighted by their recent struggles in his absence, but his impact is not limited to his performances on the pitch. Beckham was keen to point out that Messi, often cited as the soccer player of all-time, is also working to mentor the team’s academy.
“What he does on the pitch, what he does off the pitch for the young kids. To bring someone like him is the dream,” Beckham explained. “He’s teaching them, which is amazing.”
Beckham recalled one particular example of Messi passing on his wisdom to the Miami youngsters.
The Miami co-owner said: “The other day one of the academy kids, who’s doing really well, was asked ‘What’s the best bit of advice Leo’s given you?’ and he said, ‘To walk more in the game, because you see more.’”
“He’s unbelievable for the young kids,” he said.
Messi has been unable to feature in Miami last four games, a spell during which they have failed to win a game. That poor run of form looks to have ended their slim hopes of making it to the playoffs, but the team is hoping to have Messi back in contention before the end of the season.
This weekend Inter Miami take on Cincinnati at DRV PNK, needing a victory to keep their playoff chances alive.