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Inter Miami put Lionel Messi in Pele bracket as Jorge Mas reveals details of first transfer meeting that took place when Argentina superstar was still at Barcelona

Messi Inter Miami 2023Getty
  • Inter Miami president's Pele pitch to Messi
  • Approached Messi in 2019
  • New legacy in the U.S.

WHAT HAPPENED? Mas says he was determined to bring Messi to his club and that their pursuit to sign the Argentina skipper began in 2019, when the star player was still at Barcelona. Along with co-owner David Beckham, Mas approached the forward's father Jorge Messi and spent three hours explaining the project on offer at DRV PNK Stadium. Mas now considers Messi's move to Miami to be one of the defining moments in MLS history, alongside Pele's New York Cosmos move in the '70s and David Beckham's transfer to the LA Galaxy in 2007.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to El Club del Deportista, Mas said: "I always aspired to sign Messi. Everyone told me I was crazy to think he would come to Inter Miami. In 2019 I arranged a meeting with Jorge Messi. David Beckham and I explained to Jorge for three hours the project and there I went to sell the Miami concept. I see the history of soccer in America with three important dates: Pele, when he arrived in 1972 at Cosmos, Beckham's arrival in Los Angeles and Messi's arrival in Miami."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The club president also added that it took him four and a half years to convince the Argentine star to finally come to the U.S., but he never gave up.

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He said: "I told him, 'Your son will have the opportunity to create a new legacy because he is going to be able to change a sport in a country,' and that is given in very few opportunities to an athlete.

"I kept in constant communication with Jorge, it was four and a half years of convincing Lionel and having him decide with his family. I never lost faith. I was convinced that Lionel Messi was going to come to Miami. I spent a lot of time talking to Lionel about Miami, about his family, about his future and I saw that there was a great possibility of being able to close something after the World Cup, in January or February."

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Lionel Messi Inter Miami 2023Getty

David Beckham Inter Miami 2023GettyPele Lionel Messi World Cup trophyGetty/GOAL

WHAT NEXT? The Herons will be next seen in action on October 4 when they take on the Chicago Fire in the MLS, but it remains to be seen if Messi will be on the pitch as he continues his recovery from injury.