David Beckham Bringing Lionel Messi to Inter Miami is the Only Thing That Can Save the Bottom-Feeding MLS Franchise

Mike and Tim discuss the Lionel Messi to Inter Miami rumors

The biggest news in the soccer world this week is the reported rumor that international superstar Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain after the 2022-23 season for Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami. This is massive news for the MLS, Ligue 1, and the football world in general. However, it’s even bigger for David Beckham’s struggling MLS franchise.

Inter Miami has struggled early in its MLS existence

Inter Miami actually began as part of David Beckham’s contract negotiation to come to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. The former Manchester United star — one of the most famous footballers in the world — got Major League Soccer to include a clause in his contract that allowed him to buy an MLS expansion franchise in the future at a discounted fee, per The Athletic.

That opportunity came in 2014 when Beckham led a group that officially began its pursuit of the Miami expansion franchise. After several starts and stops and issues securing a long-term home, MLS finally awarded Beckham his franchise in 2018.

The new team, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, aka Inter Miami CF, had its inaugural match on March 1, 2020.

During its COVID-19-interrupted inaugural campaign, Inter Miami finished with a record of seven wins, three draws, and 13 losses.

While the record was respectable for a first-year franchise, the way executives ran the team was not. Following an MLS investigation, the league found Inter Miami was providing extra, undisclosed financial benefits for French star Blaise Matuidi and Colombian prospect Andrés Reyes.

These benefits meant Miami had five Designated Players (DPs) when league rules only allowed for three.

For these infractions, Inter Miami faced fines, lost a DP and prospect spot, and had to loan out Argentinian DP Matías Pellegrini. The league cleared ownership of wrongdoing, though.

Now, while the drama may be behind Inter Miami, the losing is not. So far in the 2022 season, the club has three wins, two draws, and seven losses in the first 12 matches. The club currently sits in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

Lionel Messi would forever change David Beckham’s club

Despite the complications getting the franchise off the ground and the DP scandal in its first year of existence, there is still a chance for David Beckham to transform Inter Miami into a premier MLS franchise quickly. And that chance rests with possibly the greatest soccer player of all time, Lionel Messi.

It will cost Beckham a lot to bring Messi to America.

The report about Messi moving to Miami involves the player getting a 35% stake in the club’s ownership, in addition to any additional financial considerations. At the current valuation of the franchise, that represents around $225 million for the Argentinian superstar.

That quarter-billion-dollar number is similar to what Beckham earned coming to the States in 2007, per CNN. If that 35% ownership stake is just part of the deal, Messi could make even more.

And if he does, it will all be worth it for Beckham and Inter Miami.

Messi, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James, is one of the most famous athletes on the planet in 2022. If Messi moved to MLS, the international attention on the league and Messi’s new team would be incredible.

Also, even at 34, Messi is still among the best in the world. This season, with PSG, the forward has 11 goals and 13 assists in 33 appearances. If the reports are accurate, he’ll be 36 when he comes to Inter Miami, but even at that advanced age, he should still be able to put on a show.

With the way Inter Miami is trending now, it could be years before the franchise is among the most relevant in MLS. If Beckham can sign Messi, that leap will happen years sooner.   

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