‘Messi Not Joining Miami For Holidays’

Lionel Messi


New Inter Miami manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino insisted that he and upcoming signings Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets are not coming to South Beach and MLS for “holidays.”

Martino was announced as the new boss of Miami on Wednesday, where he is set for a reunion with Messi and Busquets, whom he previously coached at Barcelona.

“When we spoke with Leo, yesterday I spoke with Sergio, we talked about arriving to have success, to compete and compete well,” Martino said during his introductory news conference on Thursday.

“This happens to us even on a personal level, sometimes we associate the United States, Miami, holidays — this isn’t that. We want to compete… they are not footballers who are going to come here to not compete.”

Earlier this month, Messi announced his decision to join Miami, which was then followed by last week’s news that midfielder Busquets would also join the MLS club. Martino coached both players during his managerial stint in Barcelona from 2013 to 2014, as well as Messi at the international level with Argentina from 2014 to 2016.

However, Martino, who returns to MLS after leading Atlanta United in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, said discussions with Miami began before the deals for both players.

“I started the talks before [the additions of Messi and Busquets],” said the Argentine. “I always found this opportunity attractive…let’s just say that the presents arrived next.”

With the arrival of the global superstar and 2022 World Cup champion to MLS, Martino said Messi, 36, could help further inspire the growth of soccer in the United States.

“I’ve read that NFL and NBA players are talking about this situation, which seems very rare,” he said. “I believe that MLS has a constant evolution and the examples are the great soccer players from the United States who are playing in Europe, and in very good teams in Europe. There is already a process that has started.”