After weeks of anticipation, Lionel Messi has finally signed on Inter Miami CF and was unveiled in front of his new home crowd in the rain at the DRV PNK Stadium on Sunday evening.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner revealed last month that he wanted to play in the United States for David Beckham’s MLS club, but the deal was not finalized for several weeks. Meanwhile, ticket prices for the team’s upcoming games skyrocketed. Inter Miami, which currently sits on bottom of the Eastern Conferenceofficially announced Messi’s signing on Saturday and set a grand welcome for the 2022 World Cup champion.
Lionel Messi: ‘I really want to win’
There were no big predictions or proclamations from Lionel Messi, who during the presentation spoke for about two minutes in Spanish.
“I really want to start training and competing,” Messi said. “I really want to win and for this club to continue to grow. …
“Personally, I think my teammates will give everything to build this project, and I’m very happy to have chosen this city,” he said, “to have chosen this project, and I have no doubt that we’re going to have a great time and we’re going to experience very nice things.”
The glittering production included fireworks, a recorded welcome that included Tom Brady, Steph Curry and a little more Messi.
He expressed gratitude to the people of Miami, and thousands of fans created a celebratory environment inside the team’s 18,000-seat home stadium, braving rain that delayed the event by two hours.
He also thanked the team’s owners, who include David Beckham, “for this recognition, for making everything easy and for making us feel at home.”
Lionel Messi was greeted by a round of applause from the fans in attendance at the DRV PNK Stadium before receiving a pink Inter Miami shirt with his familiar number 10 on the back.
Inter Miami co-owner: ‘This is holy water’
It was a rain-soaked unveiling at the DRV PNK Stadion for the Lionel Messi unveiling, but one of the team owners put a positive spin on the wet weather.
“Tonight is a gift and a celebration to the city that opened its arms to my family and so many others seeking freedom … we’re doing this Miami style in the rain! This is holy water,” said Inter Miami- co-owner Jorge Mas to the crowd.
MLS commissioner: ‘A real testament to where MLS is’
MLS Commissioner Don Garber was in attendance at the Lionel Messi ceremony. In an interviewGarber discussed what Messi’s decision to join Inter Miami means for the league.
“We want MLS to be a preferred league, a preferred league for players, for fans, for partners and ultimately for investors. And when you have the best player ever, Major League Soccer, his league of choice, I think , it’s a real testament to where MLS is and where it’s going in the coming years,” Garber said.
In April, two months before Messi decided to go to Miami, Garber said that Messi “may be bigger than any athlete in any sport that has ever played here in the United States.”
When will Inter Miami CF reveal Lionel Messi?
The MLS club was scheduled to host “The Presentation” Sunday at DRV PNK Stadium, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
How to watch Inter Miami CF reveal Lionel Messi
The event will be streamed live for free on MLS season ticket on Apple TV. Parts of the event will also be streamed live at Inter Miami’s Twitter, Youtube and Ryk channels, as well the team’s website, MLS website and MLS Facebook.
Messi along with this family – wife Antonela Roccuzzo and their three sons – have arrived at the DRV PNK Stadium for “The Presentation”.
Inter Miami CF-Lionel Messi celebrations
The event will be hosted by MLS Season Pass personalities Melissa Ortiz Venezuelan MLS reporter Tony Cherchi.
The night will be highlighted by speeches from Messi, Beckham and Inter Miami CF managing owner Jorge Mas. There will also be musical performances from Camilo, Ozuna and Argentinian artists Paulo Londra and Tiago PZK.
Sergio Busquets joins Inter Miami
One of Lionel Messi’s teammates from FC Barcelona is joining the soccer icon in Miami. Sergio Busquets announced on Sunday with he signed with the MLS club.
Busquets arrived at Barcelona in 2005 and played 722 games for the club, winning nine La Liga titles. Busquets also won the 2010 World Cup and 2012 UEFA European Championships with Spain.
“This is a special and exciting opportunity that I am very excited to take on. I look forward to this next step in my career with Inter Miami,” Busquets said in a statement. “I was impressed by the club when I joined Barcelona last year and now I’m happy and ready to represent the club myself. I can’t wait to help bring the success that this ambitious club is striving for.”
A few days before he was officially presented as an Inter Miami player, Lionel Messi popped into the store for a few things. The greatest footballer of all time, a man adored by literally billions, who fundamentally changed the game of football and how we look at it, too a man going to Publix to buy Reese’s Puffs cereal.
– Jason Anderson, Pro Soccer Wire