Inside Lionel Messi’s whirlwind start to life at Inter Miami – in his own words: Advice from David Beckham, Antonela enjoying Florida and a debut that was beyond ‘my wildest dreams’
The first chapter of Apple’s documentary ‘Messi Meets America’ tells the story of how Inter Miami became one of the greatest players of all time – with the man himself offering his thoughts.
The first episode talked about the efforts made by David Beckham and the Mas brothers to bring Lionel Messi to the club last summer – and gave an insight into the process.
“There’s a lot of work to do to bring a player like Leo into this league, and we were ready to do it,” Beckham said in the documentary.
“Because of the importance of a player like Leo and the importance of bringing him and his family to Miami, there are a lot of things that need to be fixed before we even think about having a conversation.”
Messi said Beckham shared his views on how the league works, what it’s like and what the Englishman experienced when he joined the LA Galaxy in 2007.
First episode of ‘Messi Meets America’ provides insight into the Argentine’s first days at the club
Messi said decision to join Miami was something he and his family wanted
Messi says his family enjoyed his time in Miami and had a ‘good start’ there
“He guided me and told me a little bit about his experience, what it had been like for him to come and play here when he made the decision,” Messi said in Spanish (subtitled translation).
“But at the same time, he told me that things were no longer the same because the league has grown a lot since he arrived.”
Ultimately, after debating a return to Barcelona or a move to Saudi Arabia, Messi agreed to join Inter Miami last summer.
“I came with a lot of enthusiasm,” Messi said. “My wife and I and our kids really had fun and we talked about what this could mean for us. And it was a great start.
When it came to aligning with Beckham and the other owners, it was important for Messi to know that we were going in the same direction, that we had the same idea and the same desire to grow the club and to be a club. that people can relate to and come to love.
His signing was a coup for Beckham and Mas – who delivered on promises they made to fans to bring the world’s best players to the Sunshine State.
“We made the decision to bring Leo to Miami, not just for us, not just for our fans, but we did it for the league, we did it for the sport and we did it for the ‘America,’ Beckham said. “But what comes with that is the eyes of the world.”
What the eyes of the world saw when Messi first arrived was a Miami team in shambles.
It also shows what David Beckham and the Miami ownership went through to get Messi.
Although Miami is last in the championship, Messi said his arrival was the right time for changes.
Beckham (left) said the choice to bring Messi to Miami had impacts that went beyond the club.
The team had not won a league match for eleven matches at the time of Messi’s arrival in July – dating back to a 2-1 victory against the New England Revolution.
This team was coached by Phil Neville. Neville played only five more matches before being sacked in early June.
“I didn’t want us to be at the bottom of the standings when he came in, but we didn’t win those games,” Beckham said.
“We weren’t in a great position. The team lacked very little confidence and morale. It wasn’t good enough.
Messi explained: “We are coming off a bad season in the league in terms of results and ranking. But we also knew it was a good opportunity to start changing things.
Their first chance to do so was in a Leagues Cup match against Liga MX side Cruz Azul. Messi started his evening on the bench but was eager to get into the match.
Messi said David Beckham offered him advice and spoke to him about life in the United States.
“I was very excited to play again,” Messi revealed. “I was hoping to get in there, a lot of people had come to see me and I really wanted to come out and help the team because it was also a very, very close game.
“We had the opportunity to start with a victory and for us it was essential to start like that.”
Once he entered the game, Inter Miami captain, American right back DeAndre Yedlin, gave Messi the captain’s armband, something Messi had initially objected to.
Messi said: “(Yedlin) told me he was going to give me the armband when I arrived, I told him no. He was the captain and that suited me. He insisted that no, I was going to be the captain.
Then came the magic moment. Deadlocked at 1-1, Messi was awarded a free kick in the 94th minute – which he sent with ease into the top left corner to secure the victory.
Messi’s free kick goal against Cruz Azul was something he couldn’t even imagine
He says he could never have dreamed of this storybook at the start of his career at the club.
“The truth is the way it happened was crazy,” he explained. Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined it would turn out this way.
“Obviously you always dream big and imagine the best, right? But the truth is that I hadn’t imagined it.
“It was amazing to be able to start like that because of all the expectations I had, because it was my first minutes in my first home game, it gave us the victory in the last minute, and well …it was special. Really.’