Miami (AFP) – World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi vowed to improve on Tuesday after putting the financial scandal that threatened to derail his fledgling Major League Soccer career with David Beckham’s Inter Miami behind him.
Matuidi’s move to Inter Miami from Juventus last year triggered an MLS financial investigation and ultimately led to the club being hit with a record $2 million fine breaching salary cap regulations.
Former France midfielder Matuidi told reporters on Tuesday that the scandal was already in the rear-view mirror, insisting that his family were more affected by the controversy than him.
“For me, the most important is to be great on the field and that was not my part so I was focused on the pitch,” said Matuidi in his first comments since the scandal erupted.
“I think just for my family (it was tough), but at the end I explained to them and that is it.
“For me it is most important to be better on the field and try to do my best for the team. After the club resolved the things with the league, so it is the past now.”
Matuidi is now focused on impressing Inter manager Phil Neville, who took over at the club earlier this year.
“In my career I’ve been under pressure, so it’s normal. I work hard every day. I know I can be better. Phil (Neville) expects me to be a leader, to help the teammates and young players and I try to do that every day,” he said.
On the field, Matuidi and Inter have not gotten off to a good start.
After a frustrating debut season in 2020 in which the team went 7-3-13, Miami have continued to struggle for results.
The team is 2-5-2 this year and has not won or scored in any of its last three matches, but Matuidi chalks all that up in part to growing pains.
“We forget that the club is new. The club is only one year and a half,” said Matuidi.
“For me, that is not too much. I understand that people expect a lot about us, but I think it is step by step.”
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