Following his abrupt switch to Inter Miami, Lionel Messi will receive a key to the city of Fort Lauderdale.
The Major League Soccer team presented the 36-year-old World Cup winner, who is widely regarded as the best player to ever play the game, on Sunday night.
On Friday night, Messi will play his first Leagues Cup match for Inter Miami against Cruz Azul of Mexico.
Among those hoping to be at the game at DRV PNK Stadium is Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean J. Trantalis, who will give Messi and his family a gift to welcome them to South Florida.
‘I’m planning to attend the first game and we hope to meet him,’ Trantalis told Mail Sport.
‘On behalf of the city, I will be presenting him with a key to the city, to show that we have an open door and an open heart for him and his family as they make their home here in Fort Lauderdale.
As part of his effort to show the Messi family the finest of Fort Lauderdale, Trantalis also produced a television spot to welcome Messi to his new neighborhood.
‘It’s good times in the world of soccer here in South Florida,’ Trantalis added.
The hope is that Messi’s move will help transform soccer in the United States, with Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas describing the 36-year-old as: ‘your No 10, Miami’s No 10, America’s No 10’.