The soccer world is stunned as Lionel Messi picks a new club in Major League Soccer on the other side of the world during the 2022 World Cup

Lionel Messi is reportedly close to joining David Beckham in America’s Major League Soccer.

The Sunday Times reports that the Argentinian superstar is close to formalizing an agreement with Inter Miami, which is owned by Beckham.

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It is believed that Paris-Saint German’s free transfer would make him the highest-paid player in MLS history.

The 35-year-old said last year that “it’s always been one of my dreams… to play in the United States one day.”

In a huge coup for Inter Miami, Messi could join forces with former Barcelona teammates Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas, with manager Phil Neville keen on luring the pair to the US club.

“This club will always want to bring a superstar to Miami and a lot of top players want to come here because of our location,” Neville said earlier this year.

Messi already has properties in Miami.

Beckham’s co-owner Jorge Mas told Sports Central earlier this year that they don’t want to put a cap on what they could build.

Lionel Messi has reportedly made his mind up on his new club. Recognition: Getty

“Well, you see, both David Beckham and I aspire to bring the best players in the world here to Miami, not just because of the project we’re creating,” Mas said.

“We want to be the reference point for football in the United States, but when you talk about the best players in the world, Leo is obviously the best player in the world.

“Hopefully the conditions will be met for him to be there and play in the Inter Miami shirt. That’s what we aim for. I hope the circumstances are there. We didn’t guarantee anything, there’s no deal, but I’m a very optimistic man and I hope Leo Messi can be part of our project in the future.

“There are a lot of Catalans here: Xavi Asensi, Víctor Oliver, who has just arrived from Barcelona to address future issues.

“We will build a new stadium. I dated Joan Laporta (the President of Barcelona). It’s what I want Inter Miami to have strong ties with this type of club.”

Socceroos give Arnold approval

Now back on the Australian coast, Socceroos players want Graham Arnold to continue his tenure as coach after the World Cup.

Arnold’s contract expires at the end of the cup in Qatar, and the 59-year-old is non-binding about his future.

But Arnold makes a compelling case for being offered a new contract after becoming the first Australian-born coach to guide the Socceroos to a World Cup win.

Australia’s 1-0 win over Tunisia in Doha marks only the second time the country has come close to qualifying for the knockout stages of the cup.

Graham Arnold led the Socceroos to a win over Tunisia. Recognition: vision house/Visionhaus via Getty Images

Beat or draw against Denmark on Wednesday (2am AEDT Thursday) and Arnold will join his Dutch-born mentor Guus Hiddink in 2006 to guide the Socceroos out of their group.

Socceroos forward Mitch Duke says Arnold deserved to be offered another deal.

“That’s entirely up to him to see if he wants to move on,” Duke told reporters.

“But personally, I obviously loved working under Arnie.

“I love the way he trains, I love the atmosphere he creates at camp and if that’s what he wanted to do to keep going I support him 100 per cent.

“But of course that is an individual thing for him.

“He did it the whole trip, it wasn’t easy.

“But I’m sure any boy on this team would love to see him continue.”

Mitch Duke scored Australia’s winner in Tunisia. Recognition: Hussein Sayed/AP

Arnold’s position was in jeopardy during Australia’s turbulent Cup qualifiers before Football Australia publicly backed him at the end of March this year.

And Duke said the culture Arnold created was instrumental in Australia’s first World Cup win in a dozen years – only Dutch duo Hiddink and Pim Verbeek had overseen a win at football’s flagship tournament in 2010.

“One of the keywords is family. And faith. And that’s what Arnie created in this group in those four and a half years,” Duke said.

“We’re a family. The guys definitely feel that vibe every time we come to camp, it’s a brotherhood.

“It’s been brilliant, everyone is supporting themselves and they are supporting their mates.

“And we all feel like we could go to war against each other and that’s the belief and trust in that family environment that we’ve built over these years.

“It’s gotten us through tough times where maybe looks have written us off a bit.”

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The football legend’s ‘outrageous’ claim about Iran The soccer world is stunned as Lionel Messi picks a new club in Major League Soccer on the other side of the world during the 2022 World Cup

James Brien

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