Lionel Messi warmly greeted the enthusiastic Inter Miami fans and received praise from the club’s owner, who referred to him as “America’s number 10” during a damp but joyful unveiling ceremony. Despite a powerful thunderstorm just prior to the event, Miami’s nearly full 20,000-seat stadium demonstrated the immense support for the arrival of the Argentine World Cup champion. The heavy tropical rain caused a delay in the start of “The Unveil,” prompting fans to seek shelter or wait patiently in their vehicles.
The Lionel Messi unveiling event started around two hours later than originally scheduled with delirious Inter Miami fans chanting Messi’s name as the lights dimmed on the venue.
Club co-owner David Beckham kicked off the ceremony, expressing that Messi’s arrival fulfilled a “dream come true.” Following Beckham’s remarks, majority owner Jorge Mas energized the crowd.
“Tonight is a gift and celebration to the city that opened its arms to my family,” said the Cuban-American businessman.
“Tonight we are doing this in the rain. “This is holy water!” he added.
“This is our moment! Our moment to change the football landscape in this country,” he added, before introducing Messi as “Your new number 10, America’s number 10”.
Viral Shopping of Messi
Upon arriving in Miami on Tuesday with his family, Messi caused a viral sensation when photographs of them shopping together in a local supermarket spread rapidly. In his address, Messi expressed his gratitude to the supporters. “Thank you very much to all the people for supporting me and giving me this love. I am very happy to be here in Miami,” he said.
“Now I really want to start training, to compete, I have the same desire that I always had to compete, to want to win, to help the club continue to grow.
“I am very happy to have chosen to come to play in this city with my family, to choose this project and I have no doubt that we are going to enjoy it a lot, we are going to have a good time and very good things are going to happen,” he said.
Inter Miami, the bottom club in Major League Soccer, confirmed on Saturday that the seven-times Ballon d’Or winner had signed a deal that will keep him with the club until 2025. The former Barcelona great opted to join Miami after his contract with French club Paris Saint-Germain expired last month.