Lionel Messi was one of several celebrities to send a video message in celebration of Inter Miami’s birth as a Major League Soccer franchise in 2018.
Hunched over, hands in pockets with some clattering in the background, Messi’s was one of the more awkward offerings received by the club’s co-owner David Beckham. But it may have been the most prescient. At the end of a mumbled delivery, Messi signed off: “Who knows, in a few years maybe you will give me a call.”
Beckham clearly hung on to Messi’s number, or rather, the details of his father and agent Jorge. Five-and-a-half years after the formation of Inter Miami, they welcomed arguably the greatest player of all time to South Beach.
How a club that sat bottom of the Eastern Conference and had Phil Neville as manager at the start of the season ended the same year with Messi lifting some silverware, is documented in the hotly anticipated Messi Meets America.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new series.
If Messi excels at anything, it’s an acute sense of timing. The ephemeral playmaker made his debut for Inter Miami exactly 16 years after Beckham first appeared in MLS for LA Galaxy.
The behind-the-scenes look at the process that led to Messi’s arrival and his opening months in the US premieres on 11 October.
Messi, never one to let a big moment pass him by, marked his maiden Miami appearance with a 94th-minute free-kick winner – the sort of debut that would be deemed too outrageous for a work of fiction.
That vicious free kick was viewed more than 200 million times in the days and weeks after it nestled into the top corner of the Cruz Azul goal. It is likely to get a few more eyeballs on it after the release of the documentary.
Messi has been keen to stress that his move to Miami was “not because of money”.
“If it had been a question of money, I would have gone to Saudi Arabia or somewhere else, where they offered me a lot of money,” he argued.
Yet, the generous deal that Messi and Miami were able to agree with Apple TV certainly smoothed his arrival. Messi is thought to earn a share of the revenue generated from new subscribers to the MLS Season Pass app on Apple TV following his transfer.
In August, less than a month after Messi’s feted arrival, Miami’s co-owner Jorge Mas bragged on social media that subscribers to the MLS Season Pass app had “more than doubled” due to the “Messi Effect”. Intriguingly, more than half of the viewership opted for the Spanish language option, pointing towards the fanbase that Messi had drawn from his time in Barcelona and as Argentina’s captain.
Apple TV, the same streaming platform that offers exclusive coverage of MLS, is the only place where fans will be able to watch the new documentary. It’s unclear whether Messi will get a slice of the pie from the six-part docuseries.
A subscription for Apple TV starts at £6.99 per month but it comes free for 12 weeks after purchasing a new Apple device – as long as the offer is redeemed in 90 days.
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