Even before a ball has been kicked Lionel Messi has become a star in Major League Soccer (MLS) with Inter Miami franchise.
The Argentinian talisman who made a switch to MLS after ending his stint with Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is getting used to the new life and culture in the US after arriving in Florida.
Already he has become a ‘marketing genius” with his own signature chicken sandwich already in place at the Hard Rock. A beer with a pink label matching the color of the Inter Miami jersey he will wear is another marketing trick.
It may be recalled that Budweiser recently sent out 644 personalized beers to the 160 different goalkeepers Messi had scored against, to celebrate his record 644 goals for Barcelona.
And how much Messi’s arrival will change MLS and the American sports landscape in general is evident in the way when he went for shopping at a Publix supermarket.
Fans thronged to take selfies with the World Cup winner as pictures of him moving with a trolley in the grocery section of the market were splashed all over the social media.
Some fans were curious to know what Messi was purchasing while chipped in with funny comments like “paper or plastic?, “I know a Publix when I see it, I shop where Messi shops! I feel superior now,” added another while some felt such luxury he can afford only in America and not in Europe or any other continent. “He’s found a country where he can go to the local Publix and not be mobbed and recognized by everyone.
Some others even suggested Messi should do shopping in Milam’s Markets instead of spending time at Publix.
Looking at the way things are going, its looks America has given Messi a red-carpet welcome. Giant hoardings and billboards of the Argentinian, who turned 36 recently, can be seen across all major hubs in South Florida.
Football pundits have already dubbed Messi’s record transfer from oil-rich PSG to Inter Miami as arguably one of the biggest sporting deals to happen in the history of American sports.
Ever since they announced the arrival of Messi to Inter Miami, the club’s social media handles’ followers have increased manifold as “Messi Mania” has sort of become a commercial, footballing mountain of an opportunity for America.
Some of the comments on social media networking side Twitter after Messi was spotted at Publix indicates just that.
“Publix is a sponsor of Inter Miami. He’s doing advertiser service,” a cryptic tweet said while another one said, “The fact that Publix is trending at number 2 because of this is hilarious. Messi’s impact lol”,
Miami’s super fans will have to wait till July 21 to see Messi in action as the Argentinian great is scheduled to make his MLS debut against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup on that day. Till then fans can go ga-ga over his shopping spree and spending habits as ‘Messi Mania continues to rock Miami after his much-hyped arrival from Paris.