Lionel Messi set for Inter Miami switch
Lionel Messi could soon be joined by as many as three of his former Barcelona team-mates at Inter Miami, according to reports. The legendary Argentina World Cup-winning captain ended speculation over his future on Tuesday when it was revealed that he is set to join the David Beckham-owned MLS outfit following the expiry of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi turned down a gigantic contract with Saudi Arabia club Al-Halal to opt for a fresh start state-side as he looks to play senior football outside Europe for the first time in his career.
Although the 35-year-old’s contract with Miami won’t hit the heights of the riches on offer in the Middle East, he will receive endorsement deals from the likes of Apple and Adidas as part of his package, ensuring a lucrative outcome regardless.
Previously managed by Phil Neville, Inter Miami are currently bottom of MLS’ Eastern Conference after 16 matches, but the arrival of Messi appears to be just the start of a significant squad overhaul. And according to Argentinian reporter Gaston Edul, three of Messi’s former Barcelona team-mates could now be set to follow him to the Florida coast.
The journalist claims that the club will now build their team around Messi, by starting negotiations with Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and former Liverpool star Luis Suarez.
Midfielder Busquets has just brought a decorated 15-year stint with Barcelona to a close and is available on a free transfer. The number five shirt at Inter Miami remains currently unclaimed – as does Messi’s favoured No 10 – which has led to suggestions that both numbers had been held back for the possibility of the pair joining the ranks at Miami.
At 34, Busquets is the same age as left-back Alba, who is also leaving the Nou Camp this summer after 11 years with the Catalan giants.
But if the acquisition of two of Messi’s old Barca team-mates is an interesting possibility, the pursuit of his much-loved former strike partner Suarez is surely one to get heads turning.
The controversial Uruguayan plundered 198 goals in just six seasons for the Catalan giants, forming the most feared forward line in Europe, alongside Neymar Jr. and Messi.
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Now 36, Suarez is currently plying his trade in Brazil with Gremio and is still finding the net with regularity. He signed a two-year deal with the Serie A side in December 2022 and as a result, is the only one of the four former Barcelona players not currently out of contract.
With a combined age of 139, Miami’s new recruitment policy does not appear to be heavily based on nurturing developing players through the youth system but rather cramming as many experienced big names into the team as possible.
If they can replicate even a fraction of the success enjoyed by the quartet when at Barcelona however, Beckham and the club’s supporters will be more than satisfied.
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