David Beckham has revealed Inter Miami’s signing of Lionel Messi was a reflection of his promise to bring the best players possible to Florida.
Messi announced early in June that he will head to Miami following the conclusion of his two-year stay at Paris Saint-Germain, instead of returning to former club Barcelona.
The 36-year-old will link up with a coach he knows well in Tata Martino, after the former Barcelona and Argentina boss was confirmed as Phil Neville’s successor, and could make his debut for the club in the Leagues Cup clash with Cruz Azul on July 21.
Now, some four weeks after Messi made his decision public, Beckham has opened up on the reasons for Inter Miami‘s pursuit, where he referred to a previous commitment of signing the very best players on offer.
“A couple of weeks ago, I woke up to about a million messages on my phone,” Beckham said at the ‘Lessons in Leadership’ seminar. “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.
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“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. 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.”
Messi’s move to Miami includes payments from the league’s largest commercial partners, Apple and adidas, which could pocket him between $50m and $60m-a-year over time, and also gives him an ownership stake in the club.
“I had offers from other European teams but I didn’t even evaluate them because my idea was to go to Barcelona,” Messi admitted when addressing his future.
“If the Barcelona thing didn’t work out, then leaving European football, much more after winning the World Cup, was what I needed. Finishing my career on this side and living the United States league in a different way, enjoying day to day much more but with the same responsibility of wanting to win and always doing things well, but with more peace of mind.”