“I shed tears of emotion when I heard him call and say he was going to Inter Miami” David Beckham talks about the process of getting Lionel Messi – and the fears before that decision

Inter Miami part-owner David Beckham revealed his worries behind Lionel Messi’s decision making before he joined the Major League Soccer club this summer.

In an exclusive interview on the podcast of his former Manchester United teammate Gary Neville, ‘Stick to Football’, the former England forward admitted that Messi’s decision making process left the club in the dark – and made him worried up until that announcement was made from the World Cup winner.

‘[Signing Messi] was more emotional than it should have been,’ Beckham said on the podcast. ‘Just because for the last 10 years to try and get this team up and running in Miami, there’s been so many obstacles, so many challenges, and sometimes it looked like it wasn’t going to happen, and then obviously everything came together once I found the right partners in Miami.

‘I was in Japan the morning that I found out that he was coming. His dad had called us that week and said, “Leo’s going to make an announcement” and then two days out, [his team] said “in the next two or three days he’ll come out and say something”, so we were kind of just waiting.

‘I was in Japan working, and it was 5am in the morning. The kids were in bed, Victoria was sleeping, and my phone was going mad because I’d forgot to turn it on silent. Victoria was telling me to turn it off, so I picked it up and I saw a barrage of messages and he’d come out and done his interview.

Inter Miami’s David Beckham opened up on the podcast of ex-ManU teammate Gary Neville

He spoke about the process of acquiring Lionel Messi – and the fears he had along the way

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‘We always wanted him to decide based on wanting to live there with his family, wanting to still win and play football in the way he plays it, but we wanted him to announce it in his way.

‘He literally was sat in a hotel room with his mate filming and saying that he’s coming to Miami. So, for us, it was unbelievable, I was very emotional about it because it’s taken a lot of hard work to get here.

‘We made the offer [to Lionel], but he had offers from Saudi [Arabia], he’d had offers to go back to Barcelona and the Barcelona one really worried me because it pulls on the heartstrings. He never really got to say a proper goodbye, but then it was down to him to decide.’

Beckham also spoke about the chance to watch Messi train and play – and how watching him as an owner provides a different perspective.

‘I played against [Lionel Messi] for PSG [Paris Saint-Germain] and for Real Madrid, against Barcelona, Beckham shared. ‘And obviously he was unbelievable then, but it’s not until you physically see him, and you’re sat there watching him, and every move that he does – he never gives the ball away.

‘When Lionel first joined and arrived in Miami and he was training, I was there for the first five weeks. I was in the training ground 7:00am every morning just to watch him – and I’m 48 years old, so just to watch him do what he does, train the way that he does, prepare – it’s just different.’

Beckham said he was in Japan and was woken up by his phone when Messi announced his choice to join Inter Miami in the summer of 2022 – kicking off a media firestorm

Beckham said he would show up to the training ground at 7:00am just to watch Messi train

Messi’s arrival in July immediately resulted in the club’s value and interest jumping up

Messi’s success on the pitch resulted in Miami winning its first ever trophy: the Leagues Cup

As for how his game has changed, Beckham says Messi’s hunger and desire to win games hasn’t wavered from his days at the Spanish giants.

‘We all grew up in an era of, ‘you have to run, you have to chase’, and then you watch him. He’s clever, his brain works in different ways.

‘He sees things that other players just don’t see for five minutes after that. It’s just amazing to watch – so everything, he never gives the ball away, his work ethic is still there.

‘He won the World Cup last year and he’s as hungry as he was when he was a young kid.’

With Messi’s arrival to the Florida-based club, they won their first ever trophy – the Leagues Cup – within just weeks of his move.

But unfortunately for fans of the Argentine maestro, an injury has sidelined him for the past few games.

That cost them in the final of the US Open Cup – where Messi’s services were missed and Miami fell 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo at home.

But a recent injury to Messi has stunted Inter Miami’s campaign to qualify for MLS Cup Playoffs

Messi’s delay to return comes at an awful time for Miami – whose push to try and make MLS Cup Playoffs may just fall short.

The team sits in 13th on 33 points, but has at least one game in hand on teams above them.

With four games remaining, it is possible for them to climb up to that final playoff spot in ninth place – but things will be hard for them here on out.

Their season ends with a road trip to Chicago, then a home match on Saturday against Cincinnati. Following the international break, Miami will play Charlotte FC twice – home and away – to end their season.