Miami's Pizarro: Beckham, chance to play in Europe sealed MLS move
Inter Miami owner David Beckham's video calls and Mexico national team coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino's reassurances over the quality of Major League Soccer were important in Rodolfo Pizarro deciding to leave Liga MX champion Monterrey for the debutant MLS franchise.
Pizarro, 25, traveled from Monterrey to Miami on Thursday morning to finalize the deal with his new club and explained his reasoning for moving on from the current CONCACAF Champions League holders.
"I think that the level of players there [in MLS] shuts up the critics," Pizarro told reporters. "Carlos Vela I believe is one of Mexico's best players at the moment; [Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez] is there and he's one of the best I've seen in my career; [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic was there."
But video-calls from team owner Beckham also played their part.
"[Beckham] spoke to me on video-calls, he told me that he wanted me to come, and from when I spoke to him on the calls it influenced my decision [to come] a lot," stated Pizarro.
Pizarro also sought advice from former Atlanta United head coach Martino, who assured him that Liga MX and MLS were not very different in terms of quality.
"I see myself being an important player with the national team," said Pizarro. "I spoke with 'Tata' Martino and he said the level [of play] is similar."
The former Chivas and Pachuca player did admit, however, that while he did win the Liga MX and CONCACAF Champions League title in an 18-month spell at Monterrey, he had more to give.
"I could've done better at Rayados, but in the end during the time I was there they had gone nine years since becoming champion, without winning anything important, so I think in the end I achieved there," he said. "I could've done better, but in a year and a half [we won] two titles, the most important in the [club's] history."
Pizarro has long expressed a desire to play in Europe and believes that a move from MLS will be easier than from Liga MX.
"I think it's a bit closer, being there first and then later [in Europe]," he said. "It's a lot easier from there [in MLS] to Europe."
The move from Monterrey seems to have left the club with a bit of a sour taste, with Rayados sporting director Duilio Davino saying Thursday that Beckham's conversations with Pizarro were "antiregulatory" since the player was still under contract.
While Miami has not officially announced Pizarro, the club confirmed on Thursday it had signed two South American youngsters -- Colombia U23 international Andres Reyes and Bolivia U23's Jairo Quinteros. The 20-year-old Reyes joins from Atletico Nacional on a season-long loan with an option to buy. Quinteros, 19, comes from La Liga giants Valencia and will will spend the season on loan at prominent Bolivian side Bolivar.