Friday morning, Kingston Peel, 11, and his brother Wynn, 9, were awakened in their Bahamas home. For them, their mother prepared a surprise.
They would take a flight to South Florida in a matter of hours to witness Major League Soccer ace Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami debut.
Kingston and Wynn agreed, “We’re here to see Messi.” Before Inter Miami’s Leagues Cup encounter against Mexican club Cruz Azul, they arrived at DRV PNK Stadium.
Before Messi’s debut, throngs of supporters, some from as far away as Ecuador and Messi’s native Argentina, bounced around the stadium’s periphery. Some, like Kingston and Wynn, sported Inter Miami jerseys in black and pink with Messi’s No. 10 on the back. The 36-year-old’s Argentina jersey was worn by others. Many people lined up to get team clothing. More people awaited having their Messi jerseys and flags photographed in a photo booth.
One of Kim Kardashian’s daughters was sporting Messi’s Inter Miami jersey when she arrived at the stadium around an hour before the game. Along with other athletes from different sports, LeBron James was also present.
No one who attended the game wanted to miss the chance to watch the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner usher in the next phase of his career, even if Messi wasn’t in the starting lineup and it wasn’t obvious how much he would play.
Following months of rᴜmors, Messi recently agreed to a 2 1/2-year contract with the team. Thousands of spectators turned out to watch the team present Messi on Sunday night. David Beckham, a co-owner of Inter Miami, reported that 3.5 billion people watched the event’s web footage.
That’s a gift Leo has given the sport,” Beckham remarked. He has accomplished everything a soccer player can do at this point in their career. He is among the best players to ever play that game, if not the best.
Messi’s transfer has “raised the bar” for soccer in the United States, according to Beckham, a legendary English player who joined MLS in 2007 after a lengthy career in Europe.
My vision was exactly what we saw the moment that Leo announced when I started the journey in 2007 and my Miami journey ten years ago,” Beckham said. “I wαnted to see that for the sport,” said I.
Carlos Fierro, a native of Miami and a lifelong Messi supporter, compared the impact of Messi’s arrival to that of LeBron James joining the Miami Heat in 2010.
The fαct that Messi is that kind of player means that it will be quite different. Fierro declared, “He’s going to bring the party. “We could hear how loud it became during the presentation. Everything is supposed to be loud and exciting, right? Just your standard Miami style.