Lionel Messi decision that nearly made David Beckham cry and changed their relationship

David Beckham put his heart and soul into securing the services of Lionel Messi for Inter Miami and now the duo are targeting MLS Cup glory in the Argentine’s first full season in the United States. But how close are the pair?

David Beckham had to fight back tears when he finally received confirmation that Inter Miami’s game-changing deal to sign Lionel Messi was complete.

The Manchester United icon was woken by the buzz of his iPhone on his bedside table at 5am while in Japan on June 7 last summer; delirious wife Victoria did not know what to think as Beckham frantically reached for his glasses.

He describes finally landing Messi – after a gruelling, relentless pursuit of his signature that spanned some three years and nine months – as one of his greatest life achievements, a telling reflection of the work that was required to get an agreement over the line.

Work had officially started on the transfer back in September 2019 when ex-England captain Beckham flew to from London to Barcelona via private jet to hold discreet talks with Messi’s father and agent Jorge.

Collectively, Inter Miami acknowledged that the Argentine superstar, who was still playing for Barca, had unfinished business in Europe but that did not stop Beckham from planting a seed for the future in a bid to nip ahead of transfer rivals.

This was not only a business pitch outlining the staggering impact Messi’s arrival would have upon not just Inter Miami but MLS, this was also the chance to fulfil a personal dream for Beckham.

The club’s chief business officer Xavier Asensi recently told Mirror Football: “From the very beginning we said we needed the best. At that time Messi was at Barcelona and had never played anywhere else. Then when he went to Paris we thought we had a real chance.

“It has been a few months, in order not to say years, that has been the thing we’ve been working tirelessly for and that happened last summer. Now everything we do goes around Messi, the hype he creates and not just in Miami but the States and in general.”

Messi now has three goals in three league games for Inter Miami this season
Messi now has three goals in three league games for Inter Miami this season ( Image: CHRIS ARJOON/AFP via Getty Images)
It should come as no surprise that Tata Martino’s star-studded side sit top of the early MLS table having collected seven points from their opening three fixtures. Messi already has three goals and one assist to his name and his all-star team are considered the clear frontrunners to win this year’s MLS Cup.

This is a long-term project, not one that is likely to crash and burn. Inter Miami have always strived to ensure his arrival ties into their club strategy, vision and plan without tarnishing the work that has been implemented since their inception in 2018.

Messi’s current contract in Fort Lauderdale is due to run until the end of 2025 and is worth up to £47million annually with the inclusion of various bonuses. There is optimism that his sheer presence can help elevate football in the United States to new heights ahead of the 2026 World Cup, where Miami – albeit at the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dolphins – is due to host seven matches including a semi-final.

Inter Miami are also utilising and embracing the spotlight they have desperately craved, and which Messi’s arrival has brought, having welcomed several A-list celebrities to their luxury pitch-side boxes.

Lebron James, Kim Kardashian and Will Smith, who recently dished out a half-time hug to Messi in the 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake, have all visited the Chase Stadium to witness the 36-year-old magician in the flesh in months gone by. One of Kardiashian’s sons walked out with Messi during the recent draw with LA Galaxy in Los Angeles.             David, Victoria and Harper Beckham with the Kardashians at Lionel Messi's Inter Miami debut
David, Victoria and Harper Beckham with the Kardashians at Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami debut
Yet it’s important to highlight that Beckham’s strong relationship with Messi is no one-way street and it stems far beyond glamour and big cash. In fact, the former Barcelona attacker previously congratulated Inter Miami’s co-owner on social media when it was announced he was starting the franchise around six years ago.

“First of all, congratulations,” Messi said in Spanish during a heartfelt video message. “I wanted to wish you all the best in this project and this new role for you. And who knows, maybe in a few years you can give me a call.”

Last August, the pair were partying together with their wives – Victoria and Antonella Roccuzzo – Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba in swanky steakhouse Gekko Miami to celebrate the Leagues Cup victory.

Lionel Messi ký hợp đồng với Inter Miami
Lionel Messi received a grand welcoming from David Beckham and Inter Miami

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