Speaking with former players at the Stick to Football program recently, David Beckham shared stories about his pursuit to get Messi’s signature and the beautiful days when he witnessed it. See talented people from world football playing in the colors of Inter Miami.
Gary Neville: Recently you have done a lot of things and the most impressive thing is probably bringing Lionel Messi to Inter Miami. You also have a documentary about your life coming out but let’s talk to us about Miami first because I think bringing Messi to Miami has attracted a lot of attention from people around the world. .
– Beckham: Honestly everyone knows I started this job 10 years ago. At that time, I was forming a football team in Miami with the vision of bringing the best players here to play. As the owner of a football team, you always want to recruit the best players to your team. But the opportunity to do that is not much and it is very difficult. There are always many challenges hidden behind such player recruitment.
But in order to recruit Messi, I sneaked into the hotel where his father stayed in Barcelona 4 years ago to meet him and express my wishes. At that time, we were clearly not ready to bring him to Miami and Messi was not ready to think about playing in America, but I still expressed to Jorge Messi: ‘We want to recruit our son. Yours, we want him to come to Miami when Messi feels ready.’
After that time, I saw an opportunity for Inter Miami when he was in the final days of his contract with PSG. At that time, everyone thought that Messi would return to Barcelona, but then suddenly things did not happen as many people expected.
Bringing someone like Messi to Miami will help us change the image of the club and I know it will also be a catalyst to change the entire league and the image of this sport in America. Everyone understands that what Messi or his former teammates Alba and Busquets can bring both on and off the field is much more than what I listed above. Bringing stars like Messi here is truly like a dream for the kids in Miami.
But just Messi coming here has changed everything at Inter Miami, the kids at the Academy now have someone to follow and learn from, someone who has achieved everything and won every tournament. he joined. Messi is teaching them how to play football and it’s amazing. A student in the youth team when asked what the best advice Messi gave him was, he answered: ‘Messi advised me to walk more. He told me to walk more during the match to I see a lot of things going on around me.’ That’s really a very good start for what Messi is trying to convey to the young players here.
During a conversation with Sky Sports ‘Stick to Football’ to introduce a documentary about himself, David Beckham shared about bringing Leo Messi to Inter Miami. According to him, this event completely changed everything at the club because Leo Messi’s influence is huge.
Ian Wright: We have seen what Messi does to bring so much joy to those around him. He looks great in every match. But can you tell us about the moment when Messi said he would go to Inter Miami?
Beckham: Thinking about that, I feel really emotional because during the 10 years of building the team, I encountered many challenges and obstacles to help Inter Miami operate normally. The day Messi said he was coming to Miami, I was still in Japan and that morning I realized Messi was coming to my team. Messi’s father called us that week and said that Messi would make an announcement about which club he would transfer to to continue playing football. A few days later we could only wait and see how he would announce it. Then suddenly at 5am in Japan, while my wife and children were still sleeping, my phone rang like crazy because I forgot to turn it on silent mode.
Obviously we always want Messi to make a decision based on how he wants to continue playing and what kind of life he wants to have with his family. And I actually felt very emotional when I saw Messi with his family sitting in the hotel room and announcing that he was going to Miami. To hear those words really took a lot of effort over a long period of time, the team had to do a lot to be able to discuss a contract with a player like Messi.
Messi received an offer from Saudi Arabia and returned to Barcelona, and this is an offer that really worries me because it touches his heart. Up until now, Messi has not been able to officially say goodbye to his fans in Barcelona.
Carragher: I think everyone agrees that Messi is the best player we have ever seen. So how does it feel to see an outstanding player like Messi every day?
Beckham: I played against Messi when I was at PSG and Real Madrid. From that moment on, he was already a very good player. But when you witness and watch Messi practice every day, everything is much better. Every movement and everything Messi does on the field makes it almost impossible for the ball to leave his feet.
For the kids at the academy it was almost unbelievable to see Messi training. The children were fascinated watching Leo practice from the first days he arrived here. I was no different from those kids. During the first 5 weeks when Messi first arrived in Miami, I was always at the training ground at 7 o’clock just waiting to watch Messi practice. I’m 48 years old now, but honestly, just watching Messi practice is enough to make you feel excited. Everything he does and prepares for a practice session is extremely different.
Speaking with former players at the Stick to Football program recently, David Beckham shared stories surrounding the time of chasing to get Messi’s signature and the beautiful days of witnessing world football talent playing in the colors of Inter Miami.
Jill Scott: What makes Messi so special and when you watch him practice, do you ever wonder why Messi is the best player?
Beckham: I don’t know, I mean when I was playing, the players just ran and chased the ball. But Messi is different, he is extremely smart. Messi’s brain works in a very different way than normal people. His genius brain can see what will happen in the next 5 minutes and that doesn’t happen in a normal person’s brain. It’s always a great feeling when watching Messi play, he still maintains a very strong passion for the ball. Last year Messi became world champion and now he still has a desire to play like a child who loves football. That’s really great.
Gary Neville: The last question about Messi, I want to know what kind of person he is. Obviously I’ve seen many pictures of you and Messi going out to eat and hang out together. I’m curious if Messi wants any alcohol like normal people? Is Messi like all of us?
Beckham: Yes, Messi is just like us. He is a humble person, very humble. What we do every day is also what he does. For someone like Messi, he cannot go out alone in Miami. He was followed everywhere, surrounded by people everywhere he went, there were thousands of people who came to the team’s training area just because they wanted to see how Messi arrived and left after practice.
But the moment he arrived in Miami, Messi did something unusual. He drove with his family to the supermarket and bought essential items. Everyone at the supermarket that day was shocked to see a superstar like Messi in such a place. But that is the image of Messi, a very humble person, very hardworking in both training and competition and above all, he has a wonderful family always by his side. Messi is still a normal person, but the only difference is that he has outstanding talents!
Gary Neville: It’s going to be a great week ahead for you as you prepare to release a documentary about your life. Can you talk a little about that film and why you chose to release it at this time?
Beckham: I’ve been planning to make a documentary about myself since before, I even thought the perfect time for me to do it would be 10 years after I retire. There’s been a bit of a change in time, but it’s still basically after retirement. I feel like when I retire it will be the right time to do something like this. I know that I will do it and must do it because such documentaries will be something for my wife, children and parents to be able to look back on the journey I have gone through.
Ian Wright: I’m looking forward to seeing that movie of yours. But now when you look back at the time in 1998, can you recount all those changes? And how did you overcome the pressure from public opinion at that time?
Beckham: To be honest, there were a lot of scoops while I was working on this movie over the past two years. I probably filmed about 45-50 hours to do a few scenes of the movie, which I really didn’t expect to be able to do. We’ve all seen the documentary about Michael Jordan and he only did two interviews to make a documentary, which was also my initial thought when making the film. But after director Fisher Stevens took charge of this film, we changed direction to make documentary films in a different way.
1998 was obviously a very difficult time for me, but to get through everything at that time, I must thank everyone who stood by me. I have a coach who cares deeply about his players, and a team that stands shoulder to shoulder with me every day. When I step onto the field, I know that no matter what happens, my teammates at Manchester United will stand up and support me. I don’t care how much I’m criticized by outsiders because my only concern is my teammates and the Manchester United team.
Carragher: But at this time when you look at Manchester United, you will see a few players who are going through the same things as you in 1998. For example, Sancho or especially Harry Maguire. It seems that criticism of these players is going beyond the limit. It’s not exactly the same as in 1998 but as a player this story doesn’t seem too new, does it?
Beckham: I think you know a few people in our generation who have overcome similar pressures and know who has had to go through something like that. Me and a few players at Man United overcame that. But the two time periods we compare are completely different, so it will be difficult to make a specific assessment.
Manchester United is an escape for me. After all, I consider football a job that I am willing to do even without a salary. I love football so I can see that playing for a team like Manchester United helps me escape all the frivolous things outside of society. I shouldn’t say too much about Keane, because he’s sitting next to me so saying things like this will make him a bit shy *laughs*. But you know when the team has someone like Keane, high standards are not only set every weekend but they are set every day when we train. I’m a dedicated person about this sport but nothing can compare to what Keane did because what he wanted from his teammates was to win.
We always talk about the Gaffer (the name used by legends about Sir Alex) as a shining example and everyone on the team follows what he tells. I know that after what happened at the 1998 World Cup, I will still be protected by him. That was shown right from the first matches of the season, I didn’t care what people thought because I knew I was protected by the team and the coach.
Gary Neville: We also lived at the same time as you, but I wonder if during that time you went to see a psychologist or someone to improve your situation?
Beckham: Nope. Going back to where I grew up, it was obvious to everyone that I came from a working-class family. At that time, I went home and told my dad: ‘Dad, I don’t feel very well today. Can I go see a therapist?’ then he would just tell me to keep doing my job. That’s why I didn’t meet anyone after that. I admit that having someone to share your problems with is very good, but in my time, parents could only advise their children so much.
Gary Neville: What advice would you give to a player like Maguire – someone who is going through almost the same criticism as you in 1998? He faces a lot of criticism no matter when he plays for England or Man United?
Beckham: Maguire has to keep trying to do what he needs to do. He needs to focus on what he does best. I know Maguire is a good guy and he is a professional in this sport. But it seems that the criticism is a bit too much for him.
Gary Neville: Have you ever thought back and wanted to stay with Manchester United forever? I think that’s what your parents also want, right?
Beckham: You know, when I was growing up, I was a fan of Man United, so of course I wanted to spend my entire football career here. I wanted to start and finish in Manchester but to be honest now when I think about the decisions I made I see both myself and coach Sir Alex made the best decisions for the team. The decision to move helped me play for many of the world’s top teams afterward.
Gary Neville: Looking back at life in Milan, Paris, Madrid or LA. Do you see any difference?
Beckham: Completely different, everything is different from what I’m used to in Manchester. I learned Spanish along with several new languages and cultures. After that, I moved to America to play and this place gave me the opportunity to have my own football team. Next came the time in Milan and the end of his career in Paris. I love experiencing different football backgrounds, I have no intention of leaving my loved ones but when things happen I think the best things have happened in my life.