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From a dinner chat 10 years ago to a secret meeting in Barcelona: How David Beckham and Inter Miami brought Lionel Messi to MLS

How did Inter Miami manage to sign Lionel Messi? That’s been the question for anyone who has anything to do with football since Argentina’s World Cup winning captain announced his move in a TV interview back in June.

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham has now spilled beans on the conversation that snowballed into the biggest signing in the history of Major League Soccer while he was at a dinner with the club co-owner, Jorge Mas.

“I turn to Jorge and say, ‘One day, we need Messi to come to our club’. It was probably when we first met. I actually found on my phone the other day one of the first presentations that (advertising agency) Doubleday & Cartwright did — they mocked up one of the jerseys with the logo on and Leo was wearing it. That was 10 years ago,” Beckham told The Athletic.

Cut to September 2019, a secret meeting was organized with the-then Barcelona captain. “We got on a plane and flew to Barcelona from London secretly,” Beckham conceded. “We snuck into a hotel, met Jorge Messi (Messi’s father and agent) and started the conversation. It purely went, ‘We would love your son to play for our team one day. We know he can’t come yet, but one day we would love to have Leo in Miami’.”

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And that was that until Messi’s stay with Paris Saint Germain became unlikely following the expiry of his two-year contract with the Ligue 1 club.

Festive offer

The former England captain then shared his raw reaction to when he found out about Messi’s interview, in which he stated his next destination.

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“I was in Japan with the family and woke up at 5am because my phone kept vibrating,” Beckham remembers. “My wife was like, ‘Really?! Turn your phone off!’. I look on my phone and I’m like, ‘What’s happened? Something’s happened!’. I put my glasses on and I’m like, ‘Leo’s coming! It’s done! He has announced it!’. My wife was like, ‘What do you mean he has announced it?’. I said, ‘He has gone on TV and said he’s coming to Inter Miami!’.”

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