FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (TodayNews) — Lionel Messi ran a lap with his new teammates, took part in warm-ups for players making short passes in a tight circle, and soon left-footed a ball that hit the back of the open net.
The new Inter Miami star wasted no time in fitting into the team.
The World Cup winner and seven-time Golden Ball winner as the best player in the world took part in training with his new Major League football club for the first time on Tuesday, three days after signing a 2.5-year contract. will pay him between $50 million and $60 million a year.
A helicopter hovered overhead, drones circled over the field, and about 200 members of the media lined up to the back of the complex to take a look at Messi. He, like recently signed Sergio Busquets – also a World Cup winner – went through the welcome tunnel as part of the first practice, which meant jogging past teammates as they lined up and cheered.
“Leo’s arrival raises the bar again,” said Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham, who, like Messi, had an incredible career overseas before moving to MLS near the end of his playing career. “He has the eyes of the world. Not only Argentina, but the whole world.”
Neither Messi nor the other players or coach Tata Martino were available for media comment.
“It’s a legacy for him,” Beckham said of Messi. “He is at the point in his career where he has done everything any footballer can do in the sport. He is one of the greatest players, if not the greatest player, to ever play the game. So he’s still hungry. I saw him on the training field. I know he is still hungry. Sergio is exactly the same. And that’s the type of player we want to bring to our club.”
Messi’s first match is expected to take place on Friday, a home League Cup match against Cruz Azul. Some secondary market tickets sell for as little as $275 or so; some of the best places cost upwards of $19,000. Prices fluctuated quite a lot and will probably continue to fluctuate until the game starts.
On the other hand, someone can get front row tickets for $1. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the GOP presidential candidate, asked supporters to “consider a $1 donation” to bring him to the debate stage, saying all such donors will be represented for a chance to be front row at debut game. Messi. .
Such is the power of Messi. Inter Miami hasn’t won an MLS match in over two months; after beating New England on May 13 in an MLS game, he was 0-8-3.
Making the playoffs for Miami is a long way off. But there is hope for other trophies, such as the League Cup – a tournament between teams from the MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX when both leagues stop regular play for competition – and the US Open Cup.
Inter Miami in the semi-finals of the US Open Cup; he will play in Cincinnati at the end of August. The final of this tournament is in September. And Beckham sees the bigger picture of how a franchise defines success right now.
“We feel like we’ve made it,” Beckham said. “Is that good enough? No. We want to be successful on the field. We want to win trophies. It is most important. We feel it succeeded, but short-term success? We have Lionel Messi. This is a success… There is a foundation. There is a foundation for success.”
Messi’s decision to play in the US could be the biggest push for American football on the professional scene. Some of the biggest names in the game – Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Thierry Henry and Beckham himself – came to the US towards the end of their careers but landed a player no worse than at the top of their game and only a few months early. from hosting the World Cup is simply huge, especially given that part of the next World Cup in 2026 will be held in the United States.
“No one should lose sight of the timing being right,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said earlier this week. “The Copa America will be here in 2024, the Club World Cup will be here in 2025, the World Cup will be here in 2026. It’s not a coincidence, right? It’s part of our ongoing commitment to doing our best to make our league the favorite league not just here but around the world and be part of the conversation.”