David Beckham, co-owner of Inter Miami, recently addressed international superstar Lionel Messi, who announced last month that he will join the Major League Soccer club this summer.
“A couple of weeks ago, I woke up to about a million messages on my phone,” Beckham said at an event in north London, per Daniel Taylor of The Athletic. “I was thinking, ‘What’s gone off? I don’t usually get this many messages.’ All of a sudden, I hear Leo has come out and announced he’s coming to Miami. Obviously, it wasn’t a surprise to me.”
Messi was linked with a move to Inter Miami as early as the spring of 2021, but he admitted in June that he “really wanted to return to” Barcelona but “did not want to be in the same situation” as when the Catalan club couldn’t re-sign him due to financial issues two summers ago. Barcelona president Joan Laporta stated earlier this week that the club could have registered Messi for the 2017 season and that the 36-year-old merely “wanted to have less pressure on his shoulders” by playing in MLS.
“I have always said, from the word go, that if I had the opportunity to bring the best players in the game to Miami, at whatever time of their careers, I would do that,” Beckham continued. “I have always made that commitment to our fans. So when I hear that one of the best players—if not the best player—who has won everything in the game, who is still a great player, still young and still doing what he’s doing, wants to play for my team, it’s a massive moment for us.”
Saudi Arabia reportedly offered more than $500 million per year to have Messi play for Al-Hilal, but he will instead earn between $50 and $60 million per season with Inter Miami. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is set to make his Miami debut on July 21 against Mexican side Cruz Azul in a Leagues Cup match.