Lionel Messi’s move to MLS was a three year project – Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas.

Lionel Messi’s move to MLS was a three year project – Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas.

The owner of American Cub Inter Miami, Jorge Mas, has revealed to a journalist that Lionel Messi’s move to the club was a three year project. Lionel Messi announced his decision to join the American outfit despite huge interest from his former club Barcelona. 

Messi, who will be unveiled by the club later this month, revealed he’s no longer fit for as competitive as he understood the massive demands that may be involved.

The club’s president, who was influential in convincing Messi to join them, also stated that the club has kicked off discussions with Jordi Alba, Luis Suárez and Ángel Di María over a possible move to the South Florida club.

Speaking to El País, Mas said: “In 2019 we started to think about how we could bring him (Messi) to Miami, a global city on the rise. When people think about football in the United States, we want them to think about Miami.

“There’s a family element that’s very important — Messi will be in his own hemisphere, almost in the same time zone as Rosario. It was more important to sell him on the idea of soccer in the United States. This is the best commercial market on the planet. Messi can make MLS one of the two or three biggest leagues in the world.

“I imagine a life after soccer for Messi very similar to those of David (Beckham) or Micheal Jordan. He can continue is work in a market that won’t stop growing. He’ll have opportunities he wouldn’t have elsewhere.

“(The negotiations lasted) three years. One-and-a-half years negotiating intensely. Lots of conversations with Jorge (Messi, Lionel’s dad). I viewed it as done at the end of May. David (Beckham, Inter Miami co-owner) talked to Leo, only over footballing topics, because he was still playing at PSG. He didn’t want him to feel any pressure. We’ve spoken in Barcelona, Miami, Rosario, Doha… I spent the entire World Cup in Qatar watching Argentina. In terms of closing, the contract with Apple was very important.”

When asked who could join Messi in Miami, Mas said: “For us, it was essential to surround Messi with players at his level. We’ve been talking to Busquets for more or less a year. He’ll be very important in the locker room, even more so for the academy players.

“Two or three more players are coming. We have talked to Jordi Alba.

“(Luis Suarez) is under contract — he has a (release) clause, and I don’t know if he’d leave. We’ve also conversed with (Angel) Di Maria, but it looks like he’s on the verge of signing elsewhere. All of the announcements will be made before July 15.”

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