- Lionel Messi will start from the bench but is widely expected to come on tonight
- Jorge Mas, co-owner of Inter Miami, earned the acclaim on the field
- DailyMail.com provides the latest global sports news
Fans had been waiting for a long time for Lionel Messi before he finally arrived at the DRV PNK Stadium ahead of his Inter Miami debut.
There was a lot of buzz around the arrival of the World Cup-winning Argentine superstar, and the excitement ran a notch higher as fans gathered in the stadium hours before Inter Miami’s League Cup match against Cruz Azul.
Messi was not in the starting line-up for Inter Miami tonight, and instead is expected to play the last 30 minutes of the match to make his debut, according to reports.
However, that did not deter fans from turning up early in anticipation of seeing the Argentine as fans lined up before the gates opened, an hour and a half before kick-off.
They enjoyed the action in the fan area, where lines stretched from the team store and enjoyed several hours of kickoff.
Messi arrived at the stadium at a similar time to the commotion as he struggled to make his way into the tunnel without the crowd screaming. He’s been pulled over for some selfies, including by the Cruz Azul crew.
Jorge Mas took to the field as fans filled the stands in Fort Lauderdale. The Inter Miami co-owner led the crowd and earned acclaim for his latest achievement. He’s been dreaming of this day since before Inter Miami kicked the ball.
The uproar at DRV PNK Stadium comes as no surprise as Messi Mania has already been sweeping South Beach over the past week.
Messi took part in his first training session with the team on Tuesday, two days after his glitzy reveal in front of a full house at the team’s stadium in Fort Lauderdale – the same site as tonight’s game.
Late Thursday evening, Inter Miami announced that tickets for the match were officially sold out, with no reserve seat available for the first time this season.
Even politicians were trying to cash in on the “Missy mania” with Miami Mayor and presidential candidate Francis Suarez offering a lottery for the chance to win tickets if people donated to his campaign.
All the media attention on the club is a coup for Inter Miami owners David Beckham, Jorge and Jose Mas.
Inter Miami is now the most followed American sports team on social media – having passed every MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL franchise.
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