Phil Neville confirms Inter Miami ARE trying to sign Lionel Messi

‘I’m not going to deny it’: Phil Neville boldly confirms Inter Miami ARE trying to sign Lionel Messi and says it would be ‘a game-changer’ if the World Cup winner joins Major League Soccer from Paris Saint-Germain

  • Phil Neville has again outlined his hope of Inter Miami signing Lionel Messi
  • Messi’s contract expires with Paris Saint-Germian at the end of their season
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Inter Miami coach Phil Neville has once again said that he wants to sign World Cup winner Lionel Messi.

Speaking to The Times, Neville said that both Messi and midfielder Sergio Busquets are on his radar.

‘I’m not going to deny [it and say] there isn’t truth in the speculation that we’re interested in Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets,’ Neville said.

‘We want to bring the best players in the world to this football club. Messi and Busquets are the two that stand out more in recent years. They’re great players who would still be a massive benefit to this organization. For MLS, it would be a game-changer.

‘Since I joined Miami, I think we’ve been linked with every single top player in world football. From Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves, Robert Lewandowski, Willian, Cesc Fàbregas, Luis Suarez . . . all of them you can rattle off.

Inter Miami coach Phil Neville has underlined his hopes of signing Lionel Messi 

Neville has never made any effort to hide the club’s interest in making Messi an MLS player 

‘We’re always going to be linked with the best players in the world. We had Gonzalo Higuaín and Blaise Matuidi. Now we’ve got the opportunity to bring in some new designated players [who fall outside the league’s salary cap] following their retirements.’

Earlier this month, French publication L’Equipe said that Messi is considering whether to stay with Paris Saint-Germain beyond the current season – which is when his current contract expires – and that Miami are leading the chase to sign him.

Busquets is still playing at Barcelona but his contract also expires at the end of the season. He played alongside Messi during his golden years at Barcelona. 

Neville, meanwhile, has never made any attempt to hide his interest in Messi – he even spoke of the team’s efforts to sign him when Miami returned from the offseason to prepare for the 2023 campaign.

Speaking on January 9, he said: ‘We want to bring the best players in the world to this club and he is probably the best player, so for us the landscape has not changed at all.

‘With any deal for any DP (Designated Player) of that level, it’s complicated. It takes time.’

Neville faced the media that day alongside Miami captain Gregore, who also did little to downplay any interest in Messi.

‘Why not? I believe it could happen,’ he said. ‘Players around the world view MLS as a great league. 

Messi is currently playing for French side Paris Saint-Germain but his contract expires soon

Neville also confirmed his team’s interest in Barcelona midfield player Sergio Busquets 

‘If Messi comes, I would be happy because I like to play with the best and learn from them.’

Messi, 35, is on a salary of around $1.45million a week in France and would need to take a pay cut to join the David Beckham-owned team. 

He would still expect to be the best paid soccer player in America, and the move would be a significant chance for Messi to further build his brand.

In the meantime, Neville and Miami begin the 2023 MLS season against Montreal on Saturday night. 

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