Barcelona: Koeman hopes Messi stays for 'many more years'
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Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas is “optimistic” Lionel Messi can be convinced to leave Barcelona to join Major League Soccer. Messi is out of contract with Barca at the end of June and has previously expressed an interest in playing in the United States – and Mas believes that is a distinct possibility.
The 33-year-old forward has been the subject of much work behind the scenes at the Camp Nou in recent months, with the club desperate to keep hold of their most prized asset.
Messi publicly stated his desire to leave the Spanish club last summer and was linked with a move to Manchester City in January.
Barcelona have endured a difficult period off the pitch, with Messi used as a pawn in the presidential election earlier this year.
Joan Laporta won the election and has made the renewal of Messi’s contract his prime objective, confidently stating in April that he is “convinced” that he wants to stay.
Laporta has reportedly offered Messi a two-year contract with the option of another year, with reports in Spain suggesting the Argentine superstar could then continue with Barca as a club ambassador when he retires.
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There are suggestions that Messi could move to play in MLS for the final few years of his career, while continuing as a Barca ambassador, and Inter Miami’s Mas has confirmed the Florida club are keen to offer him a home.
“David [Beckham] and I have been working really hard, we have aspirations of bringing the best players here and Messi is a generational player, arguably the best player of all time,” Mas told the Miami Herald.
“I am optimistic Messi will play in an Inter Miami shirt because I think it will complete the legacy of the greatest player in our generation and will meet with the ambitions of the owners of Inter Miami to build a world-class team.”
Messi recently bought an £4.97million ($7m) house in Miami and spoke of his desire to play in the US back in December.
“I always had the dream of being able to enjoy and have the experience of living in the United States and experiencing what the league there is like,” he said.
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Beckham and his fellow co-owner Mas have been working hard to raise the profile of Inter Miami since establishing the club in 2020.
Miami, who are currently 11th of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference, have already made a splash in MLS by signing up some famous names from European football.
The Florida club signed Gonzalo Higuain as a designated player in September after his contract was terminated by Juventus, just four years on from his £75m transfer from Napoli.
Higuain joined up with former Juve team-mate Blaise Matuidi, ex-Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross and his brother, attacking midfielder Federico Higuain in Miami.
Inter Miami are managed by former England women’s head coach – and former Manchester United team-mate of Beckham’s – Phil Neville, who took over in January.
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