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How David Beckham reacted the day Lionel Messi chose Inter Miami

The president and co-owner of Inter Miami has revealed details of the long journey to bring Lionel Messi to MLS.

How Beckham reacted when Messi chose Inter Miami

David Beckham’s years-long pursuit of Lionel Messi finally culminated, last summer, in one of the most famous transfers of all time. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star had long held ambitions to own an MLS team and was determined to bring some of the most celebrated names in world soccer to play in the United States.

We know of Beckham’s clandestine trips to meet with Lionel Messi’s father, sneaking into a Barcelona hotel to hold talks with the player’s de facto agent while he was still playing for the Spanish giants. Much has been made of the complex web of commercial and broadcast deals that was required to build a salary package that could convince one of the greatest players of all time to spend the final years of his glittering career away from the bright lights of European soccer.

However what was not known, until now, was David Beckham’s reaction when he learned that his Inter Miami had reached a deal to sign World Cup winner Lionel Messi. Speaking on the Siriux XM radio network Beckham revealed how he learned of the most famous signing in the history of MLS. At that time, the summer of 2023, Messi was ending a largely successful but fairly underwhelming two-year stint with French giants Paris Saint-Germain and was considering his next move.

Beckham: “Traer a Messi no fue solo para Miami, fue por Estados Unidos”
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Within months of securing the signing, David Beckham was presenting Lionel Messi with his eighth Ballon d'Or.FRANCK FIFEAFP

Beckham explained: “We knew that month that there was a decision to be made, because Leo had announced that he was leaving PSG. So, four or five A.M. in Japan, and I’m in bed, and my phone keeps buzzing and buzzing and buzzing … I then see, ‘Leo Messi has decided to come to Miami.’ And I get goosebumps now. I sit up in my bed, and I start crying.”

Beckham made to wait for Messi signing

As part of his lucrative playing deal with MLS side LA Galaxy, David Beckham was given the right to purchase an expansion team when he had finished his on-field career. In January 2018 MLS approved his proposal to bring a team to Miami and the team began play in the Eastern Conference in 2020.

However Beckham’s pursuit of Lionel Messi actually dates back to before his team first kicked a competitive ball, even before the club had appointed their inaugural head coach.

“We’d been talking to Leo’s father for a long time … Five years,” Beckham explained. “Me and my partner in Miami sneaked into a hotel to meet Leo’s dad five years prior to him signing for us. And we had a meeting with him, and I said, ‘Look, I know Leo’s not ready now, but I want your son to play for my club in the future.’

Over the years Beckham kept in contact with Messi’s team and made sure that Inter Miami’s continued interest was made clear. Aside from the on-field offer there was an element of cultural and linguistic familiarity that Miami offered to Messi and the opportunity to be at the forefront of a sporting revolution in the United States. Those factors, combined with David Beckham’s perseverance, helped to bring one of the most celebrated players of all time to MLS.