David Beckham’s Inter Miami is poised to evoke memories of Lionel Messi’s illustrious years at Barcelona this summer. The club’s management has been proactive in recruiting Messi and two other former teammates from Barcelona and Granada, with the possibility of two more additions soon. Let’s dive into the exciting developments unfolding at the club.
Messi: A Trailblazer in MLS
Out of the five players in consideration, the 36-year-old forward, Lionel Messi, was the first to make his mark in Major League Soccer (MLS), and he had no shortage of options. As the summer approached, it became evident that Messi would not remain at Paris Saint-Germain due to various reasons, including the unsteady atmosphere in the locker room and the managerial struggles under Christophe Galtier. A disappointing exit from the Champions League’s round of 16 against Bayern Munich made it clear that these conditions were not befitting for the final years of the illustrious Argentine’s career.
In his pursuit of a more befitting destination, Messi had two paths to explore – one leading to the Middle East and the other to the USA. His status as a tourism ambassador tied him to Saudi Arabia, and “Al-Nasr” already boasted Cristiano Ronaldo in its ranks, presenting a chance to reignite their legendary rivalry and compete with other top players. On the other hand, Inter Miami emerged as the sole contender in the USA. The club, owned by David Beckham, had been surrounded by rumours of Messi’s potential move for quite some time.
The option of joining a club in the United States also held appeal due to the unique structure of the contract – media reports suggested that all MLS clubs were willing to contribute towards Messi’s salary, regardless of which team he chose. Furthermore, it was revealed that Messi’s agreement with Inter Miami would span three years, but he would have the flexibility to leave as a free agent after any season.
In the end, Lionel joined David Beckham’s team, which proved to be a “golden ticket” for Inter Miami. By opting for the USA and Major League Soccer, Messi not only blazed a trail for himself but also paved the way for other world-class players to consider the vibrant and growing football scene in the United States.
Alba and Busquets Follow Messi’s Lead
The fate of Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets at Barcelona hinged on Lionel Messi’s decision. Both players’ contracts were set to expire, with Alba’s contract ending this summer and Busquets’ next summer. With Messi’s potential departure from Barcelona, Sergio began considering other options, hoping to reunite with the Argentine superstar towards the end of his career. He would only stay in Catalonia if Messi returned to the club. When Lionel visited Catalonia in late April, he discussed career possibilities with his former teammates.
Initially, reports suggested that Messi had chosen to continue his career at Al-Hilal, and as a result, the sheikhs were willing to sign both Busquets and Alba in the future to secure the global star. However, within a few months, everything changed – Messi joined Inter Miami, and negotiations with the 35-year-old centre-back ensued.
Meanwhile, Barcelona and Alba reached an agreement to cancel his contract. The club faced financial difficulties and needed to reduce payroll, leading to this mutual decision. After parting ways with Barcelona, Alba found an opportunity to join Inter Miami as a free agent. Despite offers from Atletico, Inter, and Benfica, Jordi opted to reunite with Messi, solidifying their connection on and off the pitch.
Two More Teammates in the Pipeline
The prospects of their moves differ in terms of likelihood. One potential reunion for Lionel Messi could be with Andres Iniesta – the Spanish midfielder departed Barcelona during Messi’s tenure with the club. Iniesta spent over five seasons in the Japanese league, playing for Vissel Kobe. After bidding a warm farewell to his former team, Iniesta’s contract with the club expired in the summer, leading him to search for a new team.
For Inter Miami, this presents a fantastic coincidence – both Messi and his former Barcelona teammates, Busquets and Alba, were available as free agents, and now a similar opportunity has arisen with Iniesta. The 39-year-old Spaniard has been offered to join Inter Miami, and recent reports indicate that both sides have reached an agreement in principle for the move.
Another potential addition with a Barcelona background is Luis Suarez. However, negotiations for the Uruguayan striker’s transfer are more complex. Suarez’s contract with Gremio is valid until next summer, meaning a buyout would be required. Although discussions between Inter Miami and Suarez have been ongoing for some time and are progressing, the sticking point lies in the contract’s payout clause – a hefty sum of 70 million euros on the occasion of its termination.
From Underdogs to Contenders
Inter Miami, under the ownership of David Beckham, recently entered the MLS and debuted in the 2020 season. In the short period since its inception, the club has struggled to establish itself as a dominant force in the league. During the first two years, they found themselves lingering near the bottom of the standings, only managing a 6th-place finish in the 2022 season. The current campaign also sees them positioned towards the lower end of the table.
Regarding the total squad value, Inter Miami ranked outside the top five last year, coming in 7th place with a value of €42.75 million. However, with the recent acquisitions of Messi, Alba, and Busquets, they have surged to the top spot with a squad value of €78.6 million. And that’s not all – with the potential arrivals of Iniesta and Suarez, the team’s prospects are set to soar even higher.
If these deals materialize, it’s hard to fathom how far this once-considered underdog team will climb in the ranks. Inter Miami is rapidly transforming from a struggling team to a formidable contender, ready to challenge the established powers of the league.