Lionel Messi is set to team up with David Beckham in Major League Soccer.
The Argentina legend is close to formalising an agreement to join the Beckham co-owned Inter Miami in a free transfer from Paris-Saint Germain in the summer of 2023 that would make him the highest-paid player in the history of MLS, according to the Sunday Times.
“I would like to play in the United States one day; it’s always been one of my dreams,” Messi told Spanish media last year.
According to the report, the MLS club managed by Beckham’s former Manchester United teammate Phil Neville is also considering adding Messi’s former Barcelona teammates, Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas.
Suárez is back with Nacional in his native Uruguay while Fàbregas plays in Italy’s Serie B at Como.
“This club will always want to bring a superstar to Miami, and a lot of top players want to come here because of where we are,” Neville said earlier this year.
Messi left Barcelona for a $41 million yearly salary with PSG in 2021, winning the Ligue 1 crown in France last season.
The 35-year-old Messi, who already has a home in Miami, is second in soccer history behind Cristiano Ronaldo with 764 career goals for club and country ahead of Argentina’s next World Cup match in Qatar on Wednesday against Poland.
A World Cup title has eluded Messi in four previous tries in his career with Argentina, but he netted the go-ahead goal in Saturday’s win over Mexico following a stunning 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia to open the tournament.
Inter Miami, which finished its third MLS season in sixth place in the Eastern Conference before losing in the first round of the playoffs to NYCFC in October, is set to begin construction soon on a billion-dollar stadium near Miami airport that is slated to open in 2025.
“Well, look, both David Beckham and I aspire to bring the best players in the world here to Miami, not only because of the project we are creating,” Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas told Sport Central earlier this year.
“We want to be the point of reference for soccer in the United States, but when you talk about the best players in the world, Leo is obviously the best player on the planet.
“Hopefully the conditions will be met for him to be there, playing with the Inter Miami jersey. We aspire to that. I hope the circumstances are given. We have nothing guaranteed, there is no agreement, but I am a very optimistic man and I hope that in the future Leo Messi can be part of our project.
“There are a lot of Catalans here: there is Xavi Asensi, Víctor Oliver, who has just arrived from Barcelona to bring up topics for the future.
“We are going to build a new stadium. I was with Joan Laporta [the Barcelona president]. It is what I aspire to, that Inter Miami has close relations with this type of club.”
This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission