Lionel Messi is still not officially an Inter Miami player, but that hasn’t stopped America welcoming its new soccer hero in a big way.
In New York, 1,300 miles away from Messi’s new home in Florida, the windows of adidas’ flagship store are filled with mock-ups of MLS‘ biggest star, alongside the slogan ‘Impossible Is Nothing’.
In pictures taken by DailyMail.com, the sportswear giant’s Broadway venue is covered in pictures of Messi wearing his new Inter Miami strip, before he has even pulled it on himself.
The windows of adidas’ flagship store in New York are filled with mock-ups of Lionel Messi
A sign reads ‘Bienvenido A Miami’ above a photo of Messi and Inter Miami merchandise
The 36-year-old is expected to make his debut this month after leaving Paris Saint-Germain
The Argentinean World Cup winner announced his impending move to Miami last month, following the end of a two-year spell with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi is due to be unveiled later this month ahead of his scheduled debut against Mexican side Cruz Azul on July 21.
But the impact of his move to MLS can already be seen on the social media pages of Inter Miami.
In the 24 hours following his decision to join Major League Soccer, Inter Miami gained more than 5million Instagram followers – from roughly 1m to 6.1m. Their follower count is now at 9m.
It will be on the field where Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino will be hoping Messi can soon make an even greater difference.
Miami sits bottom of the Eastern Conference heading into the final eight games of the regular season.
Messi is plastered on the windows on Broadway alongside the slogan ‘impossible is nothing’
Martino, who took over following the sacking of Phil Neville last month, has worked with Messi at both Barcelona and with the Argentina national team.
Reports suggest a number of Messi’s former team-mates could also join him in Miami. Sergio Busquets has already followed him to Florida, while Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez have also been linked.
Reports claimed the club will confirm the signing of Alba as early as Friday, in what would be another massive coup for Miami.
According to the Miami Herald, it is basically a done deal, with Alba taking a ‘drastic pay cut’ on his $24m salary with former team Barcelona, whom he left recently upon his contract expiring.
His contract is believed to be for two-and-a-half years with an option for a third season – which is set to be the same length as Messi and Busquets.