Soccer

Barcelona’s Luis Suárez could be headed to David Beckham’s Inter Miami. Here is why

FC Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta addresses incident with Neymar

FC Barceona's Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta speak to the media regarding Saturday's El Clasico match with Real Madrid.
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FC Barceona's Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta speak to the media regarding Saturday's El Clasico match with Real Madrid.

David Beckham promised big-name players for his Inter Miami team, and, if a report out of Spain proves correct, the first star to sign could be one of the world’s best players — Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suárez.

According to Catalunya Radio, Inter Miami made an offer to Suárez for a four-year deal, and he has not yet made a decision whether to leave La Liga for Major League Soccer. Suárez, who would be 33 when Inter Miami launches in March 2020, is among the game’s most prolific scorers with over 400 goals for club and country.

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He has won the European Golden Shoe award for top goal scorer two times, in 2013-14 and 2015-16. He won the Premier League Golden Boot while playing for Liverpool. He has helped lead his teams to eight major trophies — six league trophies, a Champions League title and a Copa America. He played for Liverpool from 2011-14 and joined Barcelona in 2014.

A fan favorite all over the world, he has 33.6 million Instagram followers, which would instantly make him the most high-profile athlete in South Florida.

Asked Tuesday morning if the club is in negotiations with Suárez, Inter Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough and co-owner Jorge Mas both declined comment, saying they don’t comment on rumors or players under contract with other clubs.

On Sunday, Mas did say the team planned to sign three marquee players, was already deeply involved in contract talks and planned to announce their first big signing “by the end of the summer.”

“This is a city and team that is going to attract players who play in some of the best leagues in the world,” Mas said. “For us it’s important to bring the best players we can. First of all, to have a team that represents our city, that plays an exciting, attractive, offensive-oriented style of soccer with a lot of goal scoring. We are very excited and impressed by the amount of interest we’ve received from players who are in the world’s best leagues who want to be part of this team, a lot because of the relationship with David.”

Beckham, who was in Fort Lauderdale Sunday meeting the club’s youth academy players, said he was getting calls daily from players around the world interested in joining his team.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Beckham said, of the intense interest. He also stressed that they are not looking for a player in the twilight of his career, but rather one in his prime.

“We all know how great Miami is as a place to live with your family, but we don’t want players just coming here at the end of their career thinking, `Oh, let’s go have a couple of years in Miami and I’ll play a little bit of soccer,’’’ Beckham said. “That’s not what we want. We want players who are hungry, who have played at the top level but still want to win. Not at a time where they’re looking for retirement in a great place like Miami.”

“We are looking for players who are winners. We want our team to play attractive, exciting football because that’s what Miami’s all about. People don’t want to come watch us and see a nil-nil draw. We want attacking football and are looking for that type of player.”

Suárez would fit that description.

He is known for his dazzling runs, his strong leg, his nutmegs and his knack for finding the back of the net. He has also been accused of being a dirty player, and is infamous for three biting incidents.

The most publicized was at the 2014 World Cup, during a game against Italy. In the 79th minute, with the score tied 0-0, Suárez collided with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Replays showed that Suárez lunged at Chiellini and bit his shoulder (Chiellini showed bite marks). Uruguay won the game 1-0. Two days later, FIFA banned Suárez for nine matches, which also ruled him out of the 2015 Copa America. It was the longest ban in World Cup history.

Other players who have been linked to talks with Inter Miami include Daniel De Rossi, Hector Moreno, Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, and Antoine Griezmann.

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