Inter Miami’s official social media account experienced an extraordinary surge, from 2.1 to 4.5 million followers in 12 hours, more than doubling its follower count accumulated over the previous five years.
However, the impact of the ‘Lionel Messi effect’ extends beyond Inter Miami. The announcement of Messi joining the team sent shockwaves throughout Major League Soccer (MLS), signifying a potential game-changing moment for football in the United States and Canada.
The goat (greatest of all time) is coming,” MLS tweeted.
“Millions of MLS fans all over the world welcome you, Leo.”
Among those highly interested in Messi’s arrival in MLS was the league’s commissioner, Don Garber, who took to Twitter to stress that “This should be fun.”
According to Jim Curtin, head coach of the Philadelphia Union, it was likely the greatest day in MLS history.
“It’s the best player that the sport of soccer has ever had, in my opinion,” he noted.
LAFC’s Colombian defender, Jesus Murillo, expressed enthusiasm about facing Messi as an opponent, stating that as a player, he always wanted to compete against the best.
Meanwhile, LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo avoided answering questions about Messi’s arrival, humorously stating that he had many thoughts but preferred not to share them at the moment.
Atlanta United, who faced LAFC that night, posted an image on Instagram featuring Argentine player Thiago Almada alongside Messi and a World Cup trophy, symbolizing two world champions now in MLS.
Messi’s arrival received recognition beyond the football world as well. Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis
Antetokounmpo, who is a member of the ownership group of MLS’ Nashville SC, wrote, “Welcome to MLS Messi! See you in Nashville.”