Lionel Messi's Inter Miami debut has been 'confirmed' by club's owner
| Last updated
Lionel Messi's Inter Miami debut has been confirmed by the club's owner despite the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner still under contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Although complete confirmation hasn't exactly been provided by the club, Messi himself has discussed his new chapter across the pond, stating it "was time to go to the United States to live football in a different way and enjoy more day to day."
He is still technically a PSG player until July 1 before he completes his free transfer to the Florida outfit, with final details still being ironed out.
The 36-year-old was on international duty with Argentina, before scoring a first-half hat-trick in Maxi Rodriguez's testimonial in his hometown of Rosario on Saturday night.
Over in the States, bottom side Inter lost 4-1 to Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park - with one disappointed fan making a 1,200 mile trip when Messi was playing 5,000 miles away in South America rather than North America.
However, there is word on when Messi will pull on the Inter shirt for the first time. According to The Mirror, owner Jorge Mas has confirmed in a private meeting that the Barcelona legend is scheduled to make his debut on July 21.
Inter take on Mexican side Cruz Azul at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale in the group stages of the Leagues Cup.
The ground can house 18,000 fans but it's believed Inter are looking to add an extra 3,000 seats to cater for the absurdly popular demand.
Some tickets on resale websites are said to be selling for a whopping $20,000 for the clash, which could see Messi's first appearance.
Mas has already revealed that security measures will have to be heightened in order to protect Messi and his teammates going forward.
"Security will obviously be enhanced," he told the Miami Herald.
"Players will be bussed in, going through a tunnel. All of those security protocols are already prepared both for here and away. And it’s not only for our games.
"It’s going to be an everyday occurrence and something we witnessed and I thought handled very well when (Messi) was here with Argentina before the World Cup.
"As you may recall, Argentina trained in Miami before they flew over to to Doha.
"We had an opportunity to see some of the Messi mania at our doors on an everyday basis during practice. So, we’re very prepared. We’ve been getting ready for this."
Messi's deal at Inter is said to be between $125 million and $150 million, making him the league's highest earner.