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Lionel Messi called out for "orchestrated" publicity stunt after joining Inter Miami

Lionel Messi called out for "orchestrated" publicity stunt after joining Inter Miami

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami has been accused of staging a publicity stunt after his arrival to the MLS.

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami have been accused of an "orchestrated" publicity stunt following his arrival to the MLS.

Messi was officially unveiled as Inter's marquee signing on Sunday, with David Beckham claiming the special event was viewed by 3.5 billion people across the globe.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is already putting more eyes on MLS than ever and has been settling in with his new teammates in training sessions put on by Gerardo 'Tata' Martino.

He's in line to make his debut on Friday against Mexican side Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup, with some tickets rumoured to be selling for $100,000.

But both Messi and the club have been accused of staging a stunt to drum up interest for Messi's monumental move to the Herons.

After hopping on a plane to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Messi, his wife Antonela and sons were spotted food shopping at a Publix store.

The 36-year-old blended in at the supermarket at first but then the selfie requests from fans became too much for him and he asked his other half for the car keys.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

However, former United States international Alexis Lalas has a theory that the trip to Publix was no coincidence given the chain are partners with Inter.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Lalas said: "One of the things that they (Miami) did was - when I say ‘did’ it's because it was absolutely orchestrated - Messi was in his new town and what do you do when you're in a new town? You stock the refrigerator.

“Lo and behold, he turns up at a Publix. For those who don't know, Publix is a ubiquitous grocery store down in that neck of the woods. And lo and behold, he is seen there with a cart full of stuff that he is going to stock in his refrigerator.

"It takes a couple of clicks to go to the Inter Miami website and pull up their corporate partners and woah! Amazing! Publix! There it is!"

Lalas did speak positively about Messi's impact on the MLS, which looks set to change the game even more than David Beckham's 2007 LA Galaxy switch did.

Messi has been joined by former colleagues Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, while it appears as though Andres Iniesta will be completing the Barca reunion band at the DRV PNK Stadium.

However, he appears to have found a new bestie in Josef Martinez and even gave one teammate free tickets to his unveiling after a request in the WhatsApp chat.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Lionel Messi, Inter Miami, Barcelona, MLS