Lionel Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami was celebrated with great enthusiasm on Sunday. Following his arrival, the Major League Soccer (MLS) team introduced him to an ecstatic crowd in a packed stadium.
Dubbed ‘The Unveil,’ the glitzy event took place at Inter Miami’s home stadium in Miami, Florida. As the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner walked along, he was adorned with spotlights, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, the fans roared with excitement.
Messi was presented with his iconic No. 10 shirt and took a moment to address the crowd in Spanish.
“I am extremely happy to have chosen this city for my family and this project. I have no doubt that we will thoroughly enjoy it,” Messi expressed.
“We will create memorable moments and achieve great things. Thank you all for this incredible day. I can’t wait to start training and competing. I still possess the same desire to win and help Miami thrive.”
Following his speech, a video compilation featuring well wishes from notable figures such as former NFL quarterback Tom Brady and NBA player Stephen Curry was played on the stadium’s big screen.
Joined by his wife and three children, Messi then took the field, posing for photographs before a spectacular fireworks display illuminated the night sky.
The unveiling event took place a day after Inter Miami officially announced Messi’s signing, securing his presence at the club until 2025. You can expect to witness his debut on Friday in a Leagues Cup match against Mexico’s Cruz Azul.
Messi’s arrival marks a monumental moment for soccer in the United States, particularly as the nation prepares to co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and Canada.
Joining Inter Miami, a team co-owned by soccer legend David Beckham, Messi is poised to make a significant impact on the sport’s profile in the country.
“Like all of you, I am eagerly anticipating the moment Leo steps onto the field wearing our colors,” Beckham shared with the crowd just moments before Messi’s introduction. “Ladies and gentlemen, this marks the beginning of the next chapter in our story.”
However, Messi faces a formidable task in making this next chapter a success. Inter Miami currently finds themselves without a win in 11 MLS matches, dropping at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with only 18 points from 22 games.
Prior to joining Inter Miami, Messi’s future destination had been the subject of intense speculation.
Reports even came in to SurgeZirc SA that he had received a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal, worth an astounding $400 million per year.
Amidst the rumors, Messi faced suspension from Paris St Germain after making an unapproved trip to Saudi Arabia and missing a training session, fueling speculations of a potential move to join Cristiano Ronaldo in the desert kingdom.
Additionally, a return to Barcelona, the club where Messi claimed 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, and three Club World Cups, was also rumored.
However, in early June, Messi revealed his decision to join Inter Miami in an interview with Mundo Deportivo and Sport newspapers, even before signing a contract.
With a fresh start at Inter Miami, Messi now aims to redefine his legacy in the MLS and contribute to the growth of soccer in the United States.