- Argentine left PSG as a free agent
- Linked with Barca & clubs in Saudi Arabia
- Opted for a fresh start in the States
WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner stunned the footballing world when announcing that he will be moving to MLS as a free agent after reaching the end of his contract at Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentine superstar appeared destined to return to Barcelona at one stage, while big-money offers were tabled from the Middle East, but the 36-year-old is now preparing to chase an American dream. Manchester United legend Beckham helped to put that deal in place, with the former England captain lifting the lid on why he moved for Messi and how his phone has been blowing up since a remarkable coup was revealed.
WHAT THEY SAID: Beckham told those at the ‘Lessons in Leadership’ seminar: “A couple of weeks ago, I woke up to about a million messages on my phone. 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.
“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.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While being a major shareholder at Inter Miami, Beckham also owns a stake in League Two outfit Salford City alongside his fellow United graduates from the Class of ‘92. He said when jokingly quizzed on why Messi has ended up in Miami rather than Greater Manchester: “Yes, I am part-owner of Salford City. And Salford is a great place. But, obviously, Argentina is closer to Miami than Salford. I think that was quite a pull for Leo.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:Getty/GOAL
WHAT NEXT? Messi is expected to make his debut for Inter Miami in a Leagues Cup clash with Cruz Azul on July 21, with his MLS bow set to take place a month later in a home date with Charlotte FC.