Lionel Messi has already made an impact among his new Inter Miami teammates as his first message sent on the team’s WhatsApp group has been revealed by DeAndre Yedlin.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, a day before Miami’s Leagues Cup match against La Liga MX side Cruz Azul, which Messi is expected to play a part in, Yedlin, spoke of the seven-time Ballon d’Or‘s generous gesture to Ecuadorian striker and teammate Leo Campana ahead of his massive unveiling last Sunday in front of 20,000 fans.
‘For the small event, well, actually the big event on Sunday, Campana was looking for tickets and he put in the WhatsApp group if anyone had tickets,’ said Yedlin – the US’ starting right-back at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
‘I didn’t know that Messi was already in the group, but he appeared and said ”How many do you need?”, suddenly, out of the blue. From that moment I said ”Wow”, you know what I mean?
‘He appeared out of nowhere and obviously, they have known each other for more or less two days, but to show that generosity, I think it is the best example to show what he is like.’
DeAndre Yedlin revealed Lionel Messi’s first words with Inter Miami teammates on WhatsApp
Messi officially started training as a new Inter Miami player on Tuesday after his unveil, Sunday
Earlier this week, Inter Miami officials revealed that all tickets – about 21,000 – for Miami’s match against Cruz Azul had been sold, though thousands were available for resale on secondary markets on Friday morning.
It’s unclear how much Messi, a World Cup champion for Argentina and someone who Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham calls the best player ever, will be on the field in his debut.
He signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Inter Miami this past weekend, and the deal will pay him between $50million and $60million annually. That will almost certainly work out to more than $1M per match.
‘I can’t wait to start training, start competing,’ Messi said during his unveiling. ‘I’m arriving with the same desire I’ve always had: to compete, to want to win, to want to help the club keep growing.’
He officially trained for the first time as a member of the club on Tuesday in front of new head coach Tata Martino, who knows Messi well from his time in charge of FC Barcelona and the Argentinean National Team.
All 47 MLS and La Liga MX teams will be competing for the Leagues Cup – a month-long event — as each participating club takes a break from its domestic season. The top three finishers will qualify for next year’s CONCACAF Champions Cup, with the winner receiving a bye into the round of 16.
Messi shirts on sale in the streets of Miami before Messi’s potential debut vs. Cruz Azul, Friday
Messi, 35, was introduced to 20,000 Inter Miami fans on Sunday night at DRV PNK Stadium
In MLS play, Inter Miami currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference table, 12 points beneath the playoff line with 12 regular-season matches to play. Inter Miami won’t continue their regular-season pursuit until August 20 with a home date against Charlotte FC.
Messi is only the centerpiece of a dramatic summer overhaul by the Herons. They also signed Messi’s former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, as well as Paraguayan 20-year-old prospect Diego Gomez.
Former Barca teammate Andres Iniesta has also been linked with a move to Miami.
‘I’m very happy to have chosen to come to this city with my family, to have chosen this project,’ Messi said. ‘And I have no doubts we’re going to enjoy this and we’re going to have a good time and, well, a lot of beautiful things are going to happen.’
Cruz Azul are nine-time champions in Mexico, most recently winning the Liga MX title in the spring 2021 season to end a 23-year title drought. But they’ve lost their first three matches of the current fall ‘Apertura’ campaign and were knocked out in the first round of last spring’s playoffs.
Defender Ignacio Rivero has Cruz Azul’s only goal of the new season.