After taking a few quick strides along a runway that was set up over the pitch at Inter Miami’s stadium, Lionel Messi emerged from behind a curtain and made his way toward David Beckham for a bear hug.
The journey was finished for him. The wait was finally over for Inter Miami.
After much anticipation, Messi has finally arrived.
On Sunday night, after years of planning, pleading, and hoping, Inter Miami unveiled probably the game’s biggest star. They presented their new franchise player with his pink No. 10 jersey, which millions of fans will be purchasing in the following weeks and months. This was Inter Miami’s moment of triumph after years of planning, pleading, and hoping.
Messi addressed the fans and said, “I’m sure that we’re going to have a lot of wonderful experiences.”
The first one took place on Sunday. In spite of the terrible weather conditions that caused the show to be delayed, almost every seat was taken, and nobody appeared to be bothered by the pouring rain that continued throughout the evening.
“I’m very much moved to be here in Miami, to be with you,” Messi remarked during his time in Miami. In the name of my loved ones, I would want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for the generosity that you have shown me.
Because of the rain, Beckham, who is also the president of the organization and a co-owner of the franchise, had numerous large dark spots on his blue blazer.
It was going to take more than just a downpour to put a damper on this party, which was full of roaring fans and booming music.
Beckham, who was participating in the show’s telecast, said during his speech that “tonight is a typical Miami welcome for one of the greatest players to ever have played the game.” “The fact that we have our fans in here, celebrating this moment… this is what we have created, and we are very proud of that,” the speaker said.
Jorge Mas, the club’s major owner, also shared his thoughts, saying, “When David and I first met, and we dreamt of what Inter Miami represents, it began with the freedom to dream.” And we dreamed of not only bringing in elite players and the best players, but also the best player who has ever laced up a pair of boots, and his name is Lionel Andrés Messi.
When Inter Miami first started kicking about the idea that they would be the team to sign Lionel Messi and bring the reigning World Cup champion to Major League Soccer, there was no lack of individuals who were, to put it bluntly, doubtful about how practical a plan that was. One of those people was David Beckham, who was rumored to be interested in playing for Inter Miami.
Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer, is one of them. Yes, even the person who ran the league had some reservations about it.
No longer, however. The idea of Messi playing in Miami is not completely absurd. It took place, and now Messi is in the position of being tasked with lifting a team that presently has the fewest points in the MLS rankings and is buried in a losing streak that spans 11 games.
“Here we are today with a player that I think, without doubt, is not only a generational player but also, in my opinion, the greatest of all time,” stated Garber. “Here we are today with a player who…” “Went through a process throughout his decision-making phase throughout the course of the last number of months, if not the last year, in order to select where he was going to play. Many of you have already heard us state that we want Major League Soccer (MLS) to be a league of choice; we want it to be a league of choice for players, fans, partners, and ultimately investors.
“And when you have the best player of all-time making 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 years ahead,” Ronaldo said. “I think it’s a real testament to where MLS is and where it’s going in the years ahead.”
The ceremony that was being described as “The Unveil” took place at the stadium that the team calls home in Fort Lauderdale. This news comes just one day after Messi, MLS, and Inter Miami formalized their agreement for him to be a member of one of their teams through the 2025 season.
It’s the start of a full week of festivities for Messi with his new team, and he’s looking forward to every minute of it. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to participate in his first official training session, which will be accessible to the press. If all goes according to plan, he will make his debut in a League Cup encounter against Cruz Azul on Friday. It is also possible that World Cup champion Sergio Busquets will make his debut for Miami at that game. Busquets is a Spanish midfielder who just finished his long-awaited signing with the team on Sunday through the 2025 season.
Messi, who is now 36 years old, and Busquets, who had his 35th birthday on Sunday, have previously played together for Barcelona.
“This is a special and exciting opportunity that I am very excited to take,” Busquets said. “I’m very excited to take it.”
Messi, a seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world during a given year, is joining a club that is now winless in 11 matches and has the fewest points possible in Major League Soccer (MLS). Messi helped Argentina win the World Cup in 2014. After starting the season with two wins, Inter Miami has gone on a slide, going 3-14-3 since then. It still has 12 matches left in the Major League Soccer season, and it is now 12 points outside of a playoff berth, which means that it will require a significant number of victories just to have a shot.
The club had previously confirmed that Messi’s contract will be for 2 and a half seasons, and that he will be paid between $50 million and $60 million yearly. This puts the total contract value between $125 million and $150 million in cash alone. Messi will play for Barcelona. There are further aspects, the weight of which cannot be determined.
“I think this is going to be enjoyable…. This journey, which began in New York and ended in Miami, has been an extraordinary one, as Garber put it.
The genius of Lionel Messi is beyond reproach; he led Argentina to the World Cup in December and is still widely regarded as one of the very best goal scorers in the world, if not the best.
Having said that, not everyone feels that Messi’s move to the Major League Soccer will be a walk in the park, not even for a legend.
“He won’t find it easy here,” Wayne Rooney, a former great of England and Manchester United who is now the coach of D.C. United, told The Times of London for a piece that was published on Sunday. “He won’t find it easy here.” “I know it seems ridiculous, but new players quickly realize that this is a competitive league. The traveling, the varying weather in the various places, and the fact that there is a great deal of energy and intensity on the pitch.
But Rooney is also aware of the significant impact that Messi’s participation will have not just on MLS but also on soccer in the United States.
Rooney observed, “Americans love winners,” and he was right. “First and foremost, they want to see skill, and they also want to be entertained, and Messi gives them both of those things,”
Messi made his decision public at the beginning of June, and the anticipation for Sunday has been mounting ever since.
“This is our moment,” Mas remarked. “The time has come for us to make a significant impact on the landscape of futbol in this country.”