Lionel Messi arrives in the US ahead of MLS debut

Lionel Messi has arrived in the United States ahead of his Inter Miami MLS debut.

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The world’s greatest soccer player touched down in South Florida on Tuesday before his highly-anticipated MLS debut. Cameras caught the diminutive football star walking away from a jet on a runway in pink shorts and a white shirt, looking very South Beach, days before Inter Miami is scheduled to unveil its newest player.

The team will unveil Messi to its fans at DRV PNK stadium in Fort Lauderdale — the club’s current home — on Sunday, July 16, at 6 pm ET. This ceremony will likely coincide with the team also officially unveiling another massive signing, Messi’s former Barcelona teammate, Sergio Busquets.

After the pomp and circumstance, the real Lionel Messi Inter Miami debut could come as soon as July 21 when Inter Miami takes on Cruz Azul of Mexico in a Leagues Cup match. Whether Messi plays in that match or not, his MLS debut will likely be on August 20 vs. Charlotte FC at Inter Miami’s next league contest.

There is also a chance Messi could take the field in The States on July 19 at the MLS All-Star Game when the MLS All-Stars take on Arsenal at Audi Field in Washington D.C.

Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain didn’t officially end until the end of June, and the global icon has been playing football almost non-stop the over a year, with his Argentina National Team winning the World Cup during a winter break last season.

Lionel Messi signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with David Beckham’s Inter Miami side that will keep him in the U.S. through the 2025 campaign. His contract also has an option for 2026. While the exact figures aren’t known, reports are that Messi will make a salary from his club, as well as have revenue-sharing pacts with MLS partners such as Apple TV, Adidas, and Fanatics, which make his MLS deal worth approximately $50-$60 per year.