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Lionel Messi MLS Transfer Eyed by Inter Miami, Team Co-owned by David Beckham

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 18, 2022

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

Inter Miami CBO Xavier Asensi was asked during an interview with El Mundo Deportivo whether he was prioritizing landing high-profile players from Europe like PSG superstar Lionel Messi, and suggested that was the club's ambition.

"Yes, with some caveats," he said (h/t ESPN). "You can't compare Leo Messi with any other player; he's different. Having said that, what we're looking for is to be the reference point for football in the U.S., and to do that, the important thing is the players and the show that you can put on. To do so, you need the best players, and having them is a genuine objective at this club. In terms of Leo Messi, there's him and then there's everyone else."

Messi, a seven-time Ballon d'Or winner who is arguably the greatest footballer to ever live, would undoubtedly be the biggest star in the history of the MLS were he to ever join Inter Miami, surpassing former league greats like the club's co-owner David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Kaka and Frank Lampard.

The superstar has been linked to Inter Miami in the past. In May, there were reports that Messi would join the club in the summer of 2023, landing a 35-percent ownership stake in the process. Inter Miami officials denied the report.

Messi's agent also denied those reports at the time, telling Le Parisien (h/t TMZ Sports): "Leo has not yet decided on his future. And if Leo Messi has crossed paths with David Beckham in the last few hours, it is only as part of PSG’s stay in Doha where the former English midfielder plays a role as an ambassador for the next World Cup in Qatar."

While the 35-year-old is no longer in his prime, he still managed six goals and 15 assists for the Ligue 1 champions last year in just 26 league appearances (24 starts), helping to form a devastating attack alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

But the team disappointed in the Champions League yet again, falling to eventual champions Real Madrid in the Round of 16, and Messi didn't exactly light Paris on fire after one of the most shocking transfers in the history of the sport took him away from his childhood club, Barcelona, last summer.

An eventual move to Inter Miami would be just as impactful and noteworthy for the MLS, a league that has struggled to gain the same prominence in world football as European giants like England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A or even France's Ligue 1.

And there are mixed reports as to when Messi will consider a contract extension at PSG:

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

Leo Messi situation ⭐️🇦🇷 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PSG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PSG</a><br><br>▫️ Paris Saint-Germain really want to discuss a new deal, as reported by <a href="https://twitter.com/marca?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@marca</a>.<br><br>▫️ PSG told Messi they are ready to offer a contract until 2024, in case he wants to stay.<br><br>▫️ Been told Messi will think about his future ‘only after the World Cup’. <a href="https://t.co/OGUZYgHtsX">pic.twitter.com/OGUZYgHtsX</a>

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

Lionel Messi will consider his future at PSG after the World Cup, PSG have indicated they'd like to extend his contract by a year however Messi wants to try to win the World Cup with Argentina this winter 👇 <a href="https://t.co/4Y0CT7acsa">pic.twitter.com/4Y0CT7acsa</a>

Ben Jacobs @JacobsBen

PSG sources deny Lionel Messi has asked to put contract talks 'on hold' until after the World Cup. Always the plan to consider a renewal later in season, from both parties, and Messi's existing deal has an option to extend.

The MLS has provided one last lucrative stop for aging stars in the past, and a Messi signing would be similar. But given his status as arguably the GOAT of world football, it would be an enormous draw for Inter Miami and bring a lot of attention to football in the United States if Messi crossed the Atlantic on a permanent move after his current PSG contract expires next summer.

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