In the latest episode of “meets DAZN”, reigning MLS champion Julian Gressel is our guest. The new teammate of Lionel Messi also explains his special role in Miami
Julian Gressel is experiencing first-hand what it means to be a professional at Inter Miami. Shortly after joining the ambitious project of club owner David Beckham, the Franconian-born player is traveling around the world with Lionel Messi & Co. for promotional purposes. Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Japan were the stops.
Most recently in Hong Kong in particular, Miami received an “insane reception”, “followed in buses” to somehow get coveted autographs and pictures. A hype that is also new for Gressel – just like a training session in front of 40,000 spectators.
The fact that Messi didn’t play at all in Hong Kong caused a lot of fan frustration. Gressel speaks of a “precautionary measure”, while at the same time showing understanding for the fact that “people are a bit angry”. The accompanying booing did not leave him and his team-mates cold.
In general, however, Gressel says he has “settled in quite well” in Miami. As the reigning MLS champion, he came to Florida from Columbus Crew for the new season. Gressel, who won the US championship with Atlanta United in 2018, has a total of 210 MLS appearances (25 goals) on his CV
Barcelona quartet “always four on the road “
Because of his 30 years and vast MLS experience, he was deliberately brought in as a “link between younger players and our stars”. Although the former Barcelona quartet of Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba is “always a foursome”, they are “by no means completely isolated”.
Time and again, jokes are also made. Gressel jokes with Messi, for example, because of language barriers on both sides: While the Argentinian understands a lot in English but can speak much less, Gressel feels the same way about Spanish. Having Messi in your own team is undoubtedly something special: “The first week you had to concentrate on not staring all the time. But you have to pinch yourself and say: ‘This is your team-mate, it’s normal that he plays with you’. “
The Messi factor was one of the reasons for the move to Miami. “I’d be lying if that wasn’t the case,” Gressel admits openly. Beckham was not involved in the negotiations; the six-time US international met him for the first time in Hong Kong.
The decision was made between Miami and New England Revolution. “My wife wanted to go there a bit more, as she comes from Boston,” says Gressel, who therefore also describes it as a “tough decision”. However, the chance to play alongside Messi “only comes once”, which his wife also understood “completely”. Negotiations began in mid-December – shortly after the MLS final. Miami didn’t need much convincing: “The contract was finalized pretty quickly. “