If you can’t beat them, join them. David Beckham and Inter Miami seemed to take that saying all too seriously when it came to trying to eclipse the legacy of 2014-15 Barcelona.
It’s been a bit of a slog for Beckham’s Miami-based Major League Soccer franchise ever since they kicked off for the first time in 2020.
While they’ve become the best club to play in pink home kits in world football, they’ve struggled to leave their mark on MLS and force their way to the top of their domestic and continental competitions.
Changes needed to be made. For a club that had failed to make an impression thus far in their existence, they shocked the world in 2023 when they pulled off the signing of Lionel Messi.
We were unfortunately robbed of the alternate reality whereby Messi was being managed by Phil Neville, but it was probably for the best. With the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner now on the books at Inter Miami, though, why stop at just one Barcelona legend?
In a bid to finally make good on their MLS investment, Inter Miami made a pivot in their search for success. Exploiting a gap in the market, they’ve since used Messi as a way to simply recreate that treble-winning Barcelona spine of 2014-15, signing Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to keep the Argentine happy.
Suddenly, things changed. Miami went from the league’s laughing stocks to suddenly being able to play beautiful, one and two-touch football, with the trio’s colleagues suddenly resembling Barcelona players themselves.
Hiring Gerardo Martino as manager and trying to turn Robbie Robinson into Neymar wasn’t quite enough, however. There was still a piece missing.
That piece was Luis Suarez, who was still busy banging them in for Atletico Madrid and later Gremio until late 2023, when he decided it was time to get the band back together.
Getting the band back together for a reunion years after their heyday doesn’t often end well. The Hardy Boyz are struggling to live up to their previous, extreme glories, The Stone Roses disbanded as quickly as they reformed after one bad single release and some very expensive gigs, and when Cristiano Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United, it was destined to go south.
But there’s clearly something in the water in Miami. Since Messi, Busquets and Alba joined forces once again, they’ve been blossoming into an unstoppable beast once more. And now that they’ve brought Suarez back into the picture, they’re at their final form.
Ahead of the 2024 MLS season, Suarez made his Inter Miami debut in a friendly alongside his former colleagues and it became immediately clear that the magic never truly dies, as the foursome produced a passage of attacking play so good that the nostalgia will melt your face off.
Inter Miami 𝐬𝐨 close 🤏
Good to see the Alba, Suárez, Busquets and Messi connection is still there 🤝
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 20, 2024
Some just never lose it. A connection that transcends mere mortals, Alba fires a pass into Suarez, who is able to find Busquets. He then shows off a telepathic connection of his own with Messi, who bursts through and surprisingly doesn’t put the gloss on an all-timer piece of build-up play.
An exceptionally smart double save robbed us of an almost perfect goal, straight from the Barcelona training ground.
It was like clockwork. Stick that team in a red and blue kit and you’d be mistaken for thinking you were watching La Blaugrana tearing their way through the Champions League.
Signing up a bunch of former Barca stars in the final few years of their career might not be the most sustainable way to build a football club in its infancy, but when you’ve got an absurd amount of cash like Beckham and his co-owners have, it sure as hell is the most fun way to do things.
Suarez needs no introduction, and if he continues to link up with his old pals like that once the MLS season kicks off, we’ve got a good feeling about Inter Miami’s chances of finally going deep in their quest to lift the MLS Cup – no matter how they might’ve achieved it.
By Mitch Wilks