Earlier this month, Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi shocked the soccer world when he announced his intentions to move up to Major League Soccer and join Inter Miami CF following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.
On Monday, Inter Miami CF owner Jorge Mas told reporters that the date set by the team for Messi to make his long-awaited debut is set for July 21. Inter Miami is scheduled to play Cruz Azul on that date in a League Cup match.
Messi is currently on vacation in Rosario, but Mas said preparations for Messi’s arrival are already underway. Mas noted that Inter Miami is working to increase the stadium’s seating capacity by around 3,000 seats.
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Inter Miami currently plays at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
«We have already contracted to fill in the corners of the stadium which should increase capacity by approximately 3,000 to 3,200 seats,» Mas said. «We are preparing to do that work in the next four weeks. Every game will be sold out. The demand for tickets has been 10 times what we can handle with a season ticket.»
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In the wide-ranging interview, Mas also mentioned that MLS has not altered any rules in an effort to accommodate Messi’s arrival.
“There are no categories or anything that is being changed to incorporate Lionel Messi to the Inter Miami roster,” Mas said.
Messi’s contract will be worth $50 million to $60 million per year, the team said Tuesday. But he can’t sign until sometime in July, after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires.
Mas also said he expects to begin construction over the next two weeks on Miami Freedom Park, the team’s long-term home near Miami International Airport, and aims to have the venue open in the summer or fall of 2025, the report said. Herald.
Inter Miami also plans to improve security by transporting players to the stadium for games, Mas said.
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Inter Miami has gotten off to a slow start this season and currently has a 5-12 record with 17 points. The club sits last in the MLS Eastern Conference and is seven points behind CF Montreal for the ninth and final conference playoff spot.
Associated Press contributed to this report.