Lionel Messi is widely considered the greatest soccer player of all time and his move in the summer of 2023 to Inter Miami CF in Major League Soccer was a shock, to say the least. Messi Meets America showcases why the iconic superstar eschewed a chance to rejoin his beloved FC Barcelona or an eyewatering contract in Saudi Arabia along with other stars like Cristiano Ronaldo to come to the United States.
Messi’s move to Inter Miami is the most important move for soccer in the United States, surpassing the impact of former England captain David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy in 2007. It’s fitting, then, that Messi Meets America starts by introducing Beckham, now the president and co-owner of Inter Miami. Like Beckham, Messi’s arrival was impossible to escape, and even those who are not fans of the sport have felt the impact of the Messi brand.
Given his history of rarely speaking with the media, I was not expecting to hear from Messi himself as candidly as we do in Messi Meets America. His family was uncomfortable at his last club, Paris Saint-Germain, so it was nice to hear from Messi himself on how important his family feeling at home was when making his next move. He also speaks about his communication with Beckham and club owner Jorge Mas who helped convince him to make the move, but he makes it seem like they really didn’t need to do much to convince him in the end.
It is also really interesting to hear Messi talk about his new team and his role within it. MLS has often been considered a “retirement league” by outsiders, a place where older players come to see out their playing careers with large contracts and minimal effort. Messi Meets America shows that the legendary player has no intentions of taking it easy and it’s clear how much the team’s results after he joined meant to him.
His storybook goal to give Miami the win in his very first match was impressive to everyone who watched, but hearing him talk about the experience shines an entirely new light on how it went down. Even being handed the captain’s armband by USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin, something Messi told him not to do at first, shows the humility of a man who has earned the right to a bit of ego. It is a fascinating look at a man who is often so shy about sharing his inner thoughts and gives a whole new context to that first match as well as their trophy-winning run in the Leagues Cup.
That is what Messi Meets America does best, giving a look inside the mind of a player who has remained so mysterious off the field his entire career. His insights might not be entirely revolutionary, but hearing from the source directly gives a much better understanding of why he decided to make the move and how much it all means to him. Seeing his face light up when he talks about the wins both for his team on the field and his family off of it makes it impossible not to root for a man who has won everything there is to win in the soccer world. It’s easy to see all of the hype and become annoyed by the over-the-top coverage, but seeing Messi the human being this way makes it easy to understand why he is so beloved by millions around the world.
The other thing Messi Meets America does so well is give added context that makes Messi’s arrival matter. Showing residents of Miami and their reaction to his presence drives home how his importance transcends the sport itself. Miami has a fairly large Argentinian population that practically worships the man for helping their country win the 2022 World Cup, so it was nice to get a look at just how much he means to the individuals who now get to see him up close.
The behind-the-scenes moves that were made to amplify his impact, like the hiring of head coach Tata Martino as well as signing his former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, show that this is not a one-man show either. Hearing from his teammates, Messi has not only made them better on the field but has had an impact off of it as well. There is no ego. There is no arrogance. There is just a legendary player who wants to make everyone around him better and be the consummate professional to achieve their collective goal.
Messi Meets America takes a deeper dive into Lionel Messi’s groundbreaking move to Inter Miami and gives an unprecedented look inside the mind of the GOAT. It’s the perfect way for non-fans to learn more about him and the events surrounding his move to MLS, and it also gives more context for fans to enjoy. Seeing their Leagues Cup winning run played out behind the scenes gives viewers a whole new appreciation for one of the best to ever play the game.
Messi Meets America Episodes 1-3 are streaming now on Apple TV+.
Messi Meets America
Messi Meets America takes a deeper dive into Lionel Messi’s groundbreaking move to Inter Miami and gives an unprecedented look inside the mind of the GOAT. It’s the perfect way for non-fans to learn more about him and the events surrounding his move to MLS, and it also gives more context for fans to enjoy.