Inter Miami are yet to assign the No10 and No5 shirts to a squad member, dropping a potential hint that transfers for Barcelona legends Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets could be on the cards.
Messi, 35, is considered the best footballer of all time, while Busquets, 34, is one of the best midfielders of his generation. The transfer of the Argentine to Inter Miami would bring more eyes to the MLS and eclipse the transfer of fellow football legend Pele when he joined the New York Cosmos in 1975.
Both Messi’s and Busquets’ contracts expire in Junes at Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona respectively. And the MLS franchise could team up with Barca to eventually land Messi in the future by signing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner before loaning him to the Catalan club on an 18-month loan, according to L’Equipe.
Such a loophole would benefit all three parties: the player, Barcelona, and Inter Miami. Messi would be able to return to Barca and play at the highest level up until the Copa America in 2024, where he hopes to help Argentina to defend their South American crown.
It would also allow Messi to bid farewell to the club properly and on his terms after he was left with no choice but to leave in 2021 with the club in financial ruin. And once Messi has drawn a curtain on his unmatchable football career in Europe, he can join Inter Miami and help boost the MLS’ profile.
Inter Miami has dropped another hint that a blockbuster transfer could be on the cards by only displaying single-game home tickets through July 1. The rest of the clubs in the MLS, however, are displaying available tickets for the remainder of this season, which runs through until October.
Messi’s No. 1 preference this summer is said to be a fairytale return to Barcelona. However, the club still needs to sort out the financials of a deal before agreeing to a return for the World Cup winner. A move to Saudi Arabia worth billions has also been touted. Barcelona manager Xavi – a former team-mate of Messi – has stated that he wants to reunite with the legendary footballer for one last dance.
“I’m in no doubt that if Messi were to return, he would help us in what we are wanting to achieve with our football,” Xavi said. “I am in no doubt and I’ve told this to the president. He continues to be a determined footballer, he has the hunger still. He’s still a winner, he’s a leader and he’s different. At Barcelona, we’ve not had the same level since we reached as the pinnacle in 2010.
“Messi brings you the talent of being able to play the final pass, he opens doors, and scores goals. In the final third, he can provide the difference. There’s no doubt that he would still help us a lot – but in the end, it all depends on him.
“We’re going to talk to him and his representatives. I think Leo has the upper hand, there is no doubt. Yes, it’s true that we’ve already won in the post-Messi era, and that has extraordinary merit, it’s extraordinary, it’s not valued anyway, but the fear that we had was when Leo leaves, what are we going to do?
“Well, Barca has survived, I think we have rebuilt the team and the group very well and this league title and this Super Cup have spectacular merit and without the best player in the history of football and this club has much merit.
“It’s difficult to be in the skin of someone who has won it all. I’m not in his head, but I’ve been very clear about my relationship with him. We have the doors wide open. And if he wants to come, I’m in no doubt that it can happen and he would help us. But it’s up to him. It’s his personal choice.”