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Recently, former soccer player David Beckham and businessman Jorge Mas, two of the three main owners of Inter Miami, gave more details about how they acquired his services.
The Argentine star's arrival revolutionized the American league as he stole the spotlight from the first moment, but getting the forward, considered one of the best players in history, to come to MLS after leaving PSG was not easy, as many teams dreamed of acquiring his services.
"We always knew there would be competition," Beckham said to The Times. "The moment I got a little worried was when Barcelona showed interest. The club obviously strikes a chord with him and he never got to say the goodbye that he deserved. That was the only time I started to worry that he might go elsewhere.
"But we did everything we could: Jorge, José and I did everything we could. And then to get that phone call saying he had decided to come with us...I still get goose bumps."
While financially it was impossible to compete with what the Saudi Arabian league has to offer, what the city of Miami represents was appealing to Messi and his family who are Latinos from South America as Florida has a large population of Hispanics.
Mas also revealed he poised a legacy-defining thought for the Barcelona legend to mull over as he decided on the future of his football career, by presenting him the idea of the influence he would have on American sports.
"It was very difficult to compete solely in economic terms," Mas said. "But we had our city, what it represents, but also a place where his family could enjoy. Miami is the unofficial capital of America, a bilingual city. The majority of the population is Hispanic from South and Central America and I think that was extremely attractive to Lionel.
"I told him, 'How many elite athletes have had the opportunity to change a sport in a country?' It's transformative for sports in the United States. This is just the beginning. His presence, in the medium and long term, will prove over time that this league belongs in one of the best leagues in the world."
Messi's contract with Inter Miami and his involvement with the club
Messi signed with Inter Miami until 2025 for a sum of between $50 and 60 million per year, recalls The Times.
In addition, the 10's contract includes an income to the club's board when he finishes playing. "Miami predicts revenues will double to more than $100 million in 12 months," notes The Times.
To make him feel more comfortable, they also hired Argentine Gerardo Tata Martino and former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. There has been speculation that Luis Suarez will also join Inter Miami.