Lionel Messi is feeling more “confident” at Inter Miami, with his wife Antonela Roccuzzo credited with helping the Argentine to settle in America.
The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner bid farewell to European football when reaching the end of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain. Rather than retrace steps to Barcelona, Messi opted to spread his wings and join Manchester United legend David Beckham in Florida.
He has already savoured Leagues Cup glory in the States and has found his smile again following a difficult time in France – with his partner helping to manage an image and reputation that remains as popular as ever.Guillem Balague has told BBC Sport of how Messi has adapted to life in the U.S.:
“He now has the captain’s armband, although it was not what he wanted but rather something that was thrust upon him. And with the surging demand for anything Messi-related that can fill column inches and air time, going out in public is proving difficult. When he first arrived he was pictured visiting the supermarket.
This is no longer possible because everybody knows he is in town, even those that do not follow football. Meanwhile, he is committed to the Miami cause. He flew to Paris for the Ballon d’Or ceremony, arriving at 8am on the Monday and flying back to Miami immediately afterwards in the first minutes of the Tuesday to be back for training.
He has also joined the players’ WhatsApp group, where he has shared some of his match tickets with those that need them. He even handed a penalty to his team-mate and forward Josef Martinez because he had been going through a spell without scoring.
”Balague added on Messi’s family and friends helping to keep him happy on and off the field: “At home, his wife Antonella is helping him settle, finding things out about Miami, such as the best places to eat and enjoy, as well as honing his look and his image off the pitch. He is more confident these days, he has found his place in the world.
They were no strangers to Miami and the Messis have got an impressive property in the area that they have rented for years. He has been reunited with former Barca team-mates Jordi Alba and Sergi Busquets, while Luis Suarez will almost certainly also soon join them.
His time in Paris was not the happiest of his life. The fans didn’t get him. But now things are different and his next club target will be to go looking for victory for Inter Miami in MLS.”