Messi formally introduced to Inter Miami at welcome party
- "We're doing this Miami-style in the rain. This is holy water," said Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas.
Why it matters: The Argentine soccer legend's decision to join the MLS should continue to help soccer's popularity in the U.S. just in time for Miami and other North American cities to host the 2026 World Cup games.
What happened: Messi and former FC Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets, who also recently signed with Inter Miami, held up their jerseys and greeted fans from midfield at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale during an unveiling of the team's new look, which will reportedly also include former Barcelona defender Jordi Alba.
Despite persistent rainfall, thousands of fans dressed in the pink of Inter Miami and Argentine soccer's albiceleste packed the stadium to see their soccer savior.
- Fireworks burst in the sky as chants of "Messi! Messi! Messi!" rang out.
- In his speech to the fan base, Messi said he was excited to start playing with his new team. "I'm really excited and happy to be here in Miami with you all."
- Hours before, Argentine fans chanted newly written fight songs and tailgated with asado.
Flashback: The celebration was reminiscent of when the Heat rolled out their own Big Three for the first time in 2010.
Zoom in: Miami — which has a large Argentine community and rabid soccer fans — has welcomed Messi with open arms.
- There are chicken sandwiches now named in his honor, his face is plastered on murals across the city and social media is blowing up with every Messi sighting — whether it's at the local Publix or Cafe Prima Pasta.
Reality check: Messi and friends join an Inter Miami team that's on an 11-game regular season winless streak and last in their conference.
- And with just 13 games left in the season, local announcer Ray Hudson told the Miami Herald that it won't be easy for new coach Tata Martino to integrate the players into the team.
- "We will not see it this season, I can almost guarantee you," he said. "You'll see improvement, you'll see the promise of magic coming through before your eyes…"
Editor's note for screen: This story was corrected to note Inter Miami is on an 11 game regular season winless streak and not an 11 game losing streak, as it has tied three matches over its last 11.
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