FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – International soccer superstar Lionel Messi has officially joined Inter Miami CF, as the club announced Saturday they’ve signed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and FIFA World Cup champion.
Jorge Mas, who is the co-owner of the MLS club, previously told Spanish Newspaper El Pais that Messi will earn between $50-$60 million per year, according to a source.
Messi, who will occupy a Designated Player slot, is under contract with Inter Miami through the 2025 Major League Soccer season.
“I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States,” said Messi in a statement. “This is a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project. The idea is to work together to achieve the objectives we set, and I’m very eager to start helping here in my new home.”
Messi is expected to debut on July 21 at DRV PNK Stadium during Inter Miami’s Leagues Cup opener, when they’ll meet Liga MX side Cruz Azul in the revamped competition between neighboring leagues. Inter Miami will also host Atlanta United on July 25 in their Leagues Cup group stage.
Local 10 News spoke with superfan Pablo Suescun, member of the Vice City 1986 Inter Miami support group, who says the hype and Messi mania are for good reason.
“For those who don’t understand, Messi is just not the greatest not of just this generation, but of all time, probably,” he said. “We’re hoping he’s here to do what he’s destined to do. Just lift cups and win us some trophies.”
Tickets for Sunday night’s Lionel Messi “The Unveil” at Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale are now on sale online.
After season ticket holders claimed their free tickets, a limited number of seats are now available to the general public.
The club coined the event “La PresentaSíon” and has tickets priced starting at $118 as of Saturday afternoon.
Due to South Florida’s unpredictable weather during hurricane season, the team has also warned fans that the event will go on through rain or shine.
“We encourage you to come prepared for any weather conditions, such as wearing appropriate attire, to enhance your comfort. We believe that nothing should dampen the spirit of this exciting event, and we look forward to seeing you there, rain or shine!” the club announced on Twitter.
Ahead of Messi’s unveiling, Inter Miami has promised “an exciting night of entertainment, on-the-pitch speeches and more.”
Starstruck fans have been reporting Messi sightings in South Florida. The latest was in a parking lot on Friday. Others ran into him at a supermarket and at an Italian restaurant.
Inter Miami gave fans a preview of Messi in his new uniform, which you can watch in the video below.