MLS

Inter Miami target Messi as Beckham's side look to lay down marker for MLS

By Sports Desk July 18, 2022

Lionel Messi moving to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami would serve as a "reference point for football in the U.S." as David Beckham's franchise look to make high-profile signings.

That is the message from Miami's chief business officer Xavier Asensi, who hinted to Mundo Deportivo that his side will look to make a move for Messi.

Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini made their MLS debuts on Sunday for Los Angeles FC in a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.

Five-time Champions League winner Bale and Chiellini, who won Euro 2020 with Italy last year, joined Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Beckham as some of the biggest names to play in MLS.

With Messi's Paris Saint-Germain contract set to expire at the end of the upcoming season, Asensi suggested Miami will attempt to sign Messi but conceded the aim may be unrealistic.

When asked whether signing a player like Messi was a target for Beckham's side, Asensi said: "Yes, with some caveats. You can't compare Leo Messi with any other player; he's different.

"Having said that, what we're looking for is to be the reference point for football in the U.S., and to do that, the important thing is the players and the show that you can put on.

"To do so, you need the best players, and having them is a genuine objective at this club. In terms of Leo Messi, there's him and then there's everyone else.

"It depends on him and what he wants. We want to have the best players in the world, and I think Messi is the best in history. From there it's up to him."

 

Messi, 35, experienced a lean first season by his own high standards for PSG, scoring 11 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions.

That return was 17 fewer than he managed for Barcelona in the 2020-21 campaign, his final campaign before ending a 21-year association with the Blaugrana.

Though his goal tally diminished, Messi set up 14 league goals – only once in his last five seasons at Camp Nou (21 in 2019-20) did he assist more in a term.

After making his intentions and admirations for Messi clear, Asensi's focus turned to the pre-season friendly against Barca on Wednesday.

"From an emotional point of view it's marvellous and professionally it's exceptional," he added. "Barca are, if not the biggest, one of the three biggest clubs in the world for sure, and clubs are the ones that capitalise on the passion for football.

"I don't know of any fans of FIFA or UEFA. In international football everyone supports their country, but clubs don't have any borders, they go everywhere. And in terms of clubs, Barca are among the biggest, looking at the numbers.

"Emotionally, it's the biggest thing for me. To have them here, for the people of Miami, is spectacular."

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