Miami prepares to go wild as Lionel Messi jets in to sign for MLS club


As the big unveiling draws ever closer with each passing day, the city of Miami is preparing en masse to usher in the era of Lionel Messi.

After deciding to part ways with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, the World Cup-winning icon is set to be unveiled by new club Inter Miami CF on Sunday before embarking on a new challenge in MLS.

Messi touched down in South Miami for the first time on Tuesday after he flew into Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport in Florida, with his wife Antonella and their three children.

Word had obviously got out that one of the greatest, most esteemed footballers of all time was about to touch down in Florida as fans began congregating outside the airport several hours before his arrival.

Supporters also flocked to Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium in an attempt to catch a glimpse of their idol. Some fans dressed in both Inter Miami and Argentina replica shirts with Messi’s name and number on the back, while others even brought along life-sized cardboard cutouts of the 36-year-old forward.

Elsewhere, large groups of excited fans massed on the streets of Wynwood, a Miami neighbourhood famed for its vivid displays of street art. Sure enough, the group began clapping and chanting for Messi in front of a large painting of the former Barcelona star.

Also in Wynwood, Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham was all smiles earlier this week as he helped apply the finishing touches to an enormous new mural of Messi that has been daubed on the wall of a building by Argentine artist Maximiliano Bagnasco.

It would seem that Messi fever is beginning to mount ahead of the marquee superstar’s grand introduction, with Inter Miami announcing that the club would be staging a “major unveiling event” this coming Sunday, July 16 — which is likely to see both Messi and former Barca teammate Sergio Busquets formally presented to the public.

Messi and Busquets will then train under new Inter Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who took his first session on Monday and has previously worked with both players at Barca as well as managing fellow countryman Messi at international level.

Quite the reunion!


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