If Lionel Messi Goes To Inter Miami, Football Is Dead To Me

"Like putting a fine wine in a sauna."

If Lionel Messi Goes To Inter Miami, Football Is Dead To Me

Image: Getty

The rumour mill is currently shrieking like the Camp Nou after a bad tackle, as American team Inter Miami are reportedly expecting to sign Lionel Messi and hope to complete a deal in the next few months, despite PSG fishing for a renewal and Barcelona nipping at everyone’s heels with interest (they’ve got an emotional hook but precious little in the piggy bank). As for me, if Messi goes to Inter Miami, football is finished. Finito. Dead to me. Here’s why.

I’m not a Barcelona fan. But I still know Lionel Messi going to Inter Miami would be a tragedy. And in the wake of the news that the MLS team are hoping to sign the (diminutive) Argentine giant (news Bleacher Report says was broken by The Athletic journalist David Ornstein), I’m feeling like Jerome Boateng after the 2015 UCL semifinal (read: not good).

Now, before you tell me it would be “good for the game” or “make economic sense” for Messi to do a (reverse?) David Beckham, just look at what the move to America did to the iconic British number 7. Not that it totally ruined Beckham’s career, but we’ll always wonder what he could have achieved in that 6 year spell at LA Galaxy.

Why? Because let’s be honest: though it might be improving, no-one cares about what happens in the US. In fact, going anywhere but England, Spain, Germany, France or Italy is admitting you’re past it as a big player. In fact, even going to France, for one of the greatest (if you’re not a Cristiano Ronaldo fan, probably the greatest) players of all time was a bit of an anti-climax (even if it did mean another stint with Neymar). Plus, do you really think Messi needs more money?

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But now, instead of getting our fairy tale ending where Messi leaves PSG and ends his career at Barcelona (maybe even helping them redeem themselves in the Champions League) and instead of providing fans with an intriguing experiment to watch in the Premier League with the likes of Manchester City, it looks like he might be going to the US. Sad. And I’m not the only one that thinks so. A quick browse of the social media pages and there are many comments from like-minded drama queens including: “Why would Messi ruin his legacy” and “what a joke.”

Further comments I can get behind include: “We want to watch his game…He is still best player itw [in the world] in way of playing skills” and “he could beat Ronaldo’s champions league record if he’d stay [in Europe] for another season…”

Another social media user saw the funny side, and is hopefully correct in assuming this is much ado about nothing, writing: “‘You miss all the chances you don’t take’ – inter miami’s sporting director.”

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Messi leaving Europe would be a tragedy for both the game and him personally. Not only would it give the Cristiano Ronaldo fans more ammunition in their case that CR7 is the true GOAT, but, much as I love Messi, I’m not going to subscribe to watch the MLS because of him. On top of that, though there was clearly a bit of an adjustment period at PSG, he is now hitting scary good form again. He also hasn’t suffered (touch wood) any major injuries the likes of which forced icons like Zlatan over to the MLS. And he’s only 35! For perspective, Ronaldo is 37, Zlatan is 41, and Sergio Busquets, who plays in a much more demanding position, is 34. Not to mention Modric, who is 37 (37!).

Last but not least, at a time when football is getting all vertical, where it’s all about Haaland hip buffing defenders, Mbappe having a good old whinge (so the tabloids tell me anyway: I don’t watch anything but the EPL and La Liga), Vinicius leaving overly officious Manchester City veterans in the dust and Raphinha and Dembele giving the Camp Nou a bit of panel beating with their wild shots, we need a bit of Messi Magic and precision. And in the US, a country which, as The Simpsons pointed out, the Tiki-Taka style of play is generally not appreciated, Messi would be wasted.

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Putting Messi in the MLS would be like putting a fine wine in a sauna. No: it would be worse. It really would be like putting a nice cold piece of leftover homemade tortilla (day aged in the fridge) in the microwave, nuking the hell out of it and then throwing it down the toilet. Not that it wouldn’t still be better than the Mercadona tortilla you also threw down the toilet, but you get my drift.

Of course not everyone ages at the same rate. We shouldn’t necessarily compare Messi (physically) to Modric, Zlatan or Cristiano Ronaldo. But he’s got a few more good years in him at least. Can we please not waste them? Yours sincerely, the football world (I know you’re watching, Messi’s agent, I know you’re watching…).

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