It was love with forceps. The United States had successfully organized the 1994 World Cup, but soccer had not yet started. More than anything, it did not finish hooking. So in 2007, the MSL needed a media boost. And in those days there were few footballers more attractive than David Beckham. “David is going to Hollywood because he wants to be an actor or I don’t know. It’s a pity”, complained, at the time, Ramón Calderón, president of Real Madrid. But glamour (not so much soccer) of English did not wake up the fans. And that, there were already close to 50 million passionate Latinos in the United States.
Beckham, in fact, even had the odd scuffle with the public. In 2009, for example, he was fined $1,000 for confronting a fan. The Englishman probably botched his idea of shutting down his MSL career at the age of 31 – whenever he could, he moved to Europe and even tried to stay at Milan. He was not wrong, however, in his decision, already as president of Inter Miami, to sign Lionel Messi. Soccer (not so much the glamour) of the Argentine is a magnet for the fans. Apart from the more than 62.5 million Latinos, in the United States it seems that there is no one who wants to lose a game of 10. And he, as always, answers with goals. He knows no other way.
“I thought you would come here and play with a cigarette in your mouth and you don’t. It’s difficult”, confessed Gonzalo Higuaín, top scorer in the history of Inter Miami (29). Messi was warned. However, there is no way for the Rosario to relax. “I am looking forward to starting training and I come here with the desire that I have always had to compete, wanting to win and help the club continue to grow”, he stressed on the day of his presentation. And he did not cheat. Messi already has seven goals in four games with the Florida team’s jersey, two in the last game against FC Dallas to force a penalty shootout and qualify Tata Martino’s team to the quarterfinals of the Leagues Cup 2023, on last free kick. A new 10-pearl that sparked madness in the box, with Beckham making a fuss.
“Messi didn’t know how to take free kicks. But he practiced and practiced ”, alerted Carlos Tévez, a teammate of the former Barcelona player. After going through the teachings of Alfio Basile – “Baby, let go of your foot, please. Give it precision, you don’t need so much violence,” the Argentina coach advised him – and Diego Maradona’s – “Don’t take your foot off the ball so quickly, because if not, she doesn’t know what you want,” Pelusa insisted. , Messi became a specialist. He has 64 goals from free kicks, two more than Maradona and is 13 behind the top scorer, specialist Juninho Pernambucano (77).
With goals, especially with soccer, Messi is revolutionizing Inter Miami and the MLS. He is far, in any case, from the peace he had come to the United States to seek. “I wanted something else too and a bit of peace of mind,” he said, signing with Beckham’s team. As soon as he landed in Florida, on the 10th he explored the possibility of leading an anonymous life, closer to the one he could enjoy in Paris. Impossible. As soon as he stepped foot in a supermarket with his wife and his children, the fans pounced on him. He took refuge in the car.
In the stadiums he has nowhere to hide. But that doesn’t matter to him. And the Argentine, also the MLS, enjoy a public surrendered to his left boot. A Forbes report explains that the average price of tickets for an Inter Miami match (home or away) had increased by 500% since the arrival of 10. The average price of tickets for Messi’s debut game against the Cruz Azul was 830 dollars. Before Messi, fans could see an Inter game for just $29.
Jordi Alba and Messi. The goal of a lifetime. They made it in Barcelona. Now they do it at Inter Miami. Leo doesn’t stop. The routine of the extraordinary. GREAT GOAL. pic.twitter.com/KMZB7A7gXY
— VarskySports (@VarskySports) August 7, 2023
The Messi magnet does not only apply in Florida. The Chicago Fire and Atlanta United, for example, are hoping to sell out their upcoming games against Inter Miami. Chicago could get an extra $7 million to $10 million in revenue for their matchup on Oct. 4. The same thing happens to Atlanta United. On September 16 it will receive Leo Messi and company and it is estimated that the 71,000 seats will be full. An avalanche of public that will generate an additional four million dollars in revenue at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The love of soccer no longer seems like a matter of marketing in the United States. It’s Messi’s thing. What ultimately is love for football.
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