Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal during a match. File
David Beckham told in an interview on Wednesday that his Inter Miami franchise signed Lionel Messi as “our gift to America and the MLS.”
Former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder Beckham, speaking on his first ever visit to India and in his role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, admitted he still has to pinch himself when he sees the Argentinian World Cup winner on the teamsheet in Florida.
“It’s still hard to believe that when someone turns around to me and says Inter Miami have Lionel Messi in their team, you know,” he said. “It’s a very proud thing for me to have as an owner, to have a player like that, the best player in the world, in our team.
“We always knew that bringing Leo to America, not just to Miami, it was our gift to America and the MLS. “Because someone like that changes the game. You know, someone like that inspires another generation of soccer players.
“And that’s why we wanted to bring Leo to the team. Of course, we want to win championships. Of course, we want to be the best team in the league."
“But one of the reasons why we bought him was to also inspire the next generation of soccer players in America. To want to be soccer players. So bringing him does that and it’s an important thing for us.”
Former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star Messi shocked the football world when he shunned stratospheric offers from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to join Inter Miami in July, seven months after he had led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.
The 36-year-old went on to light up Major League Soccer with some stellar performances but was unable to carry Inter Miami into the playoffs this season.
‘Faces light up’ Beckham, 48, who has turned a successful playing career that included captaining England and winning the Champions League with Manchester United into a high-profile role as a rights advocate and style icon, is the co-owner of Inter Miami.
He was speaking to AFP in Mumbai before attending the start of the Cricket World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand, in an interview for which questions had to be vetted in advance.
Beckham explained that his first contact with the UN children’s charity began when he was a teenager. “My first involvement with UNICEF was when I was 17 years old in Thailand when I was there with Manchester United, and I went to a women’s care centre,” he said.
“But obviously with my travels over the years, I’ve seen how young girls are getting left behind, they’re not getting the same rights and the same equal opportunities as the boys.
Police closed off streets around the Hong Kong Stadium as fans flocked to catch sight of the Argentina superstar, the greatest player of his generation, ahead of a match on Sunday.
"(I decided) to leave Europe, it's true that I had offers from another European team but I didn't even think about it because in Europe, my idea was only to go to Barcelona."
Miami will travel north to face the Philadelphia Union for Tuesday's semi-final after they beat Mexican team Queretaro 2-1. Monterrey, the only Mexican team left in the tournament, will be away to Nashville who crushed Minnesota 5-.
The event will be held under the patronage of the Dubai Sports Council in cooperation with the Emirates Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.
This comes as the countdown begins for the event hosted by the UAE during the period from April 16 to May 2, with the participation of 3,500 male and female athletes under the slogan "Our Gulf is one .. Our youth is promising.”
Fourth edition of the Dubai International Master Competition for RC Aircraft will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.
Top seed Daniil Medvedev rallied from a set down to defeat Lorenzo Sonego 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday, booking his place in the quarter-finals. Playing in the first tournament since losing the Australian Open final, the top seed took