Tuesday October 3, 2023

Messi Meets Capacity Crowd Amid Downpour Ahead of MLS Debut

  • Rapturous crowd greets Argentinian legend at formal introduction.
  • Garber touts MLS increasingly becoming 'a league of choice'.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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October 3, 2023 | Podcast
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Messi Mania is at a fever pitch — and we’re still four days away from the soccer icon’s first MLS match.

Fans packed the 18,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday night for the formal announcement of Lionel Messi’s celebrated arrival to Inter Miami, an event the team called La PresentaSÍon. 

Despite no soccer being played and a torrential downpour forcing a two-hour weather delay, the rapturous crowd literally and figuratively soaked in the joyous atmosphere of the Argentinian star’s arrival to MLS.

“I am happy to have selected this city to come to, and to have picked this project,” Messi said. “We are going to share many beautiful moments together.”

Tickets to the event were free to Inter Miami season-ticket holders.

Also participating were Inter Miami co-owner and president David Beckham — whose own heralded 2007 MLS arrival in Los Angeles laid the groundwork for a move like Messi’s — and majority club owner Jorge Mas, while MLS commissioner Don Garber was on hand for perhaps the most celebrated player acquisition in league history.

“We want MLS to be a league of choice — a league of choice for players, for fans, for partners, and ultimately for investors,” Garber said. “And when you have the best player of all time making MLS his league of choice, I think it’s really a testament to where MLS is and where it’s going.”

Messi’s first on-field MLS appearance will be a July 21 Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul. Even after a recent softening in the resale ticket market, get-in prices are still hovering near $300.

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