Another week, another superstar soccer player rumored to be in talks with David Beckham about joining his new Inter Miami team.
This week’s rumor-gone-viral involves Argentine star Lionel Messi, who has played for FC Barcelona his entire career and is under contract through 2021, but reportedly has an exit clause in his contract that would allow him to leave the Spanish club next summer.
Radio Catalunya in Barcelona reported that Beckham has reached out to Messi’s representatives to see if he would be interested in moving to his Major League Soccer club for the next stage of his career.
Barcelona reportedly is trying to sign Messi, 32, to a lifetime contract. His annual salary, with bonuses, is $92 million. Messi has said in the past that he wouldn’t want to play for any European team other than Barcelona, for whom he has scored 603 goals in 687 games.
On January 29, 2018, when Inter Miami became official, Messi sent a video congratulations to Beckham and the parting line was: “And who knows, maybe in a few years you can give me a call.” Messi does like to vacation in Miami.
Asked about the rumor, Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough said: “We have no comment on player rumors.”
Uruguayan players Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona and Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint Germain have also been linked to Inter Miami.
Beckham and his co-team owners have said all along they plan to sign at least one big-name player who will excite fans in South Florida and across the league. It is likely to be a South American player.
When he was asked in March specifically about Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Beckham replied: “Everyone has their wish list. But if you look at the way Leo and Cristiano are still playing, even at what you might think is the later stage of their careers, I don’t see it ending for them. They’re playing at such a high level that it’s hard to see them leaving the clubs they are at. But we will see. You never know what can happen in football.”
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said this week that he expects Messi to stay: “I have no doubt he will want to continue until 2021 and we hope after that another year.”