Lionel Messi given incredible Miami welcome as Hard Rock lights up iconic 450-foot Guitar hotel to toast MLS move

Lionel Messi Argentina Hard Rock hotel splitGetty/Twitter/GOAL
  • Messi on his way to Miami
  • Argentine receiving a lot of fanfare
  • Florida's Hard Rock hotel gave welcome message

WHAT HAPPENED? The 2022 World Cup winner snubbed a romantic return to Barcelona and a record-breaking move to Saudi Arabia for life in Major League Soccer, with Inter Miami confirming the signing of the mercurial Argentine on Wednesday. It is arguably the country's greatest ever football import, and Messi was given due recognition in his new home of Florida. Hard Rock's giant guitar-shaped hotel lit up with the words "Welcome Messi" in English and Spanish, as the state eagerly await the Argentine's arrival.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi is unable to link up with his new club until his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the month, meaning the next few weeks will be full of eager anticipation for the Florida faithful. Comparisons have been drawn with the fanfare for David Beckham ahead of his arrival to LA Galaxy in 2007 - although comments about the ex-England international's language skills have come in for criticism.

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? The Argentine remains in Paris having made a decision on his future with plenty of time to spare, with his debut for Miami likely not coming until June 21 in a home match against Cruz Azul.

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