In a wide-ranging interview with Romanian sports publication Fanatik, former New York City FC forward Alexandru Mitriță said “there were offers” for him to join Lionel Messi at Inter Miami CF. But the player decided to remain with current club Universității Craiova in Romania’s Liga I.
Reportedly, Inter Miami wanted to sign the 28-year-old last summer. “I chose to come to Craiova, which is my heart, than to play a year with Messi,” said Mitriță.
The former NYCFC player is easily the most disappointing Designated Player in club history. Mitriță was signed in 2019 at the age of 23 to replace David Villa for a reported €8 million transfer fee, then the third-highest in MLS history. The diminutive winger made 30 appearances and scored 12 goals that year. NYCFC posted their best regular-season record ever in 2019, but were knocked out of the MLS Cup Playoffs after one game after losing to Toronto FC 1-2 at Citi Field.
Mitriță featured in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, when he was regularly called up for international duty with the Romanian national football team, but was considered a disruptive and unpopular figure in the clubhouse. When former head coach Ronny Deila made it clear that Mitriță was not in the club’s plans the following year, the forward was loaned to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli. Many feel that his departure allowed NYCFC to become the cohesive team that won the MLS Cup in 2021.
Mitriță spent the rest of his NYCFC contract on loan to PAOK Salonika in Greece and Al-Raed in Saudi Arabia. He was officially on NYCFC’s payroll until the summer of 2023, when he had a guaranteed salary of $1.3 million. That was second-highest on the team, behind only Santiago Rodríguez and Thiago Martins.
He rejoined childhood club Craiova on a free transfer in July 2023.
This is a long way to say that it’s surprising that Inter Miami wanted to sign a largely overvalued, unpopular, and unwanted attacker.
Even more surprising: Mitriță said no. “I don’t want to talk anymore,” Mitriță said. “There were offers. And from this team, but I said that I came home with my soul. I have dreams in Craiova and I hope to achieve them. I took it as a challenge and hope to see it through.”
“I am from Craiova, born and raised in Craiova,” Mitriță went on to say. “For me, this team is home and in my heart.”
You can read the full interview in the original Romanian here.