Lionel Messi officially joins Inter Miami and is already buying into Publix


Lionel Messi is the newest player to join Inter Miami in MLS. (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

Welcome to America, Lionel Messi.

The Argentine 2022 world champions officially joined Inter Miami on Saturday after the team announced the move on social media.

Messi left Paris Saint-Germain after two seasons and it was rumored that he would either sign with a Saudi Arabian club or rejoin his old La Liga side Barcelona. Instead, Messi opted for Inter Miami in a surprise decision that could raise MLS’s profile in football. He didn’t come alone either – Miami have reportedly hired former Messi teammate Sergio Busquets and hired former Barcelona and Argentina coach Gerardo Martino.

Despite the addition of a seven-time Ballon d’Orr winner, Miami might not go straight to the top of the MLS standings. The club currently sits 15th in the Eastern Conference with just 18 points – tied with last-placed Colorado Rapids of the Western Conference – in 21 games with a record of 5-3-13.

Messi and Busquets will no doubt help the product out on the pitch, but it may not be the quick fix fans have come to expect from one of football’s greatest global players of all time.

But none of that really matters right now. Inter Miami have signed Messi and this move should eventually lead to some interesting moments for MLS no matter how long Messi plays in America. And Messi has already begun to adjust to life in Florida, such as when he shopped for groceries at Publix, a Southern grocery chain.

Not many pro athletes in Miami can walk around casually in public without being swamped by fans. Maybe they’re respectful, or maybe football just isn’t big enough in the United States yet for someone of Messi’s stature to garner LeBron-like attention. Maybe Messi will change that.

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