After months of rumours, days of anticipation and hours of pouring rain, Inter Miami fans got what they were waiting for.
Lionel Messi, the man with a compelling case as the greatest soccer player of all time, entered the DRV PNK stadium sporting an Inter Miami t-shirt, shook hands with David Beckham and the Mas brothers and sparked a new era for Major League Soccer on Sunday.
Compared to some other introductions in South Florida, Messi’s demeanor was muted a day after putting pen to paper, but he still said what the crowd wanted to hear. Speaking in Spanish, Messi thanked a crowd who braved the rain and said he was looking forward to getting started.
“I’m very excited, very happy to be here, in Miami, with all of you. I’m… I want to thank, of course, Jorge, Jose, David and their family, for the warm welcome and the affection everyday , for making us feel at home so quickly, making everything easy, the truth is that it’s been spectacular for us since we arrived. I can’t wait to start training, to start competing. I come with the same enthusiasm as I. I always had to compete, want to compete, want to win, want to help and keep growing.
“I am very happy to have chosen to come to this city with my family, to have chosen this project. And I have no doubt that we will enjoy it a lot, we will have a good time, and beautiful things will happen. pass here. Thank you very much, thank you all for this day.”
Inter Miami then released a welcome video featuring names such as Stephen Curry and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. He had already brought in Messi’s longtime Barcelona team-mate Sergio Busquets, whose signing was announced earlier today.
The entire event was streamed live on multiple platforms, including MLS partner Apple TV, although the actual production value of the stream hasn’t quite reached yet.
The live translation of Messi’s speech on the English stream was barely audible and the producers disconcertingly failed to show who was actually speaking in the welcome video. Sunday was another great day for MLS, but the support most fans saw him in was a reminder of why Messi’s arrival is so important in the first place. The league is still finding its place in the streaming and broadcast landscape.
The man charged with leading the league in the sports landscape, MLS commissioner Don Garber, then appeared on the Apple TV stream. He saw Sunday as a continuation of MLS growth, not least thanks to the arrival of Beckham when he signed with LA Galaxy in 2007 and bought his share of Inter Miami in 2014:
“The league has gone from strength to strength for so many years, in fact two and a half decades. David was the first to say ‘I believe in what American football is’, now football in the United States and in Canada He said in 2014 at a press conference we had here ‘I believe in Miami, I believe we can bring some of the great players in the world to this city’, and look what they have fact. It’s pretty spectacular, rain aside.”
Now Messi can start with a new club who could use him directly as Inter Miami went down 3-0 on the same day to fall to the worst 5-3-14 in the league. At least he already knows which grocery store to browse.