David Beckham and Phil Neville receive Messi’s Miami transfer verdict

Phil Neville previously admitted that Inter Miami would love to sign Lionel Messi – but now it seems the MLS side have been dealt a huge blow to that dream. The future of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has become a hot topic in recent months, with his contract at Paris Saint-Germain due to expire at the end of the season.

Despite being 35, Messi continues to mesmerise fans and recently led Argentina to the FIFA World Cup triumph in Qatar. After returning home with the gold, Messi seemed likely to renew with the Ligue 1 giants, however, the possibility of him moving away from the French capital has been gaining weight of late.

A return to Barcelona has been mooted, with the La Liga leaders keen on bringing back their club legend. To that end, it is understood that a meeting took place between president Joan Laporta and Messi’s father, Jorge, in recent weeks.

At the same time, though, the Argentina captain is attracting strong interest from the MLS, in particular Inter Miami, while clubs in Saudi Arabia are also keen on swooping in for him.

Inter Miami is owned by England legend David Beckham and managed by Neville, with the pair desperate to make the World Cup winner their crown jewel in a new project.

Recent reports suggested that Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad were even willing to offer Messi an outrageous £73.4m ($88m) per year contract for two seasons. Meanwhile, a possible romantic return to his boyhood club in Argentina, Newell’s Old Boys, has also been talked about.

According to Alfredo Martinez of SPORT, Messi is not considering any of those possibilities at this moment as he is keen on staying put in Europe in order to continue competing at the highest level.

While a return to Argentina would certainly be a feel-good story, the option is understood to be ruled out at this point, with such a move seen as premature at this point in his career.

Understandably, news of such development will come as a huge blow to David Beckham’s Inter Miami, with manager Neville also making his intentions known to sign Messi’s old team-mate Sergio Busquets.

Speaking to The Times, Neville said: “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.

“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 organisation. For MLS, it would be a game-changer.”

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