(Spanish CNN) — He can be given different names: magic, effect, madness and others, but always with the family name that has taken hold of Miami these days: Messi. The Messi magic, the Messi effect, the Messi madness, anything can be used to describe what residents and visitors to South Florida have been going through since the Argentine soccer star’s move to Inter was announced. Miami.
Much has been said about the sold-out ticket office to see him play in the team’s jersey, which is now selling like hot cakes, and about Inter fans, who have multiplied since the announcement. To all this, which is already a reflection of what Lionel Messi’s presence in Miami means, is added food, drink and art. The city is going through a special moment, and small and large entrepreneurs, as well as artists, know how to take advantage of it.
The best picture
Strolling through Wynwood, a renowned Miami art district, with buildings and facades turned into canvases and world artists showing off their best work, and bumping into Messi’s face today is almost a must.
“Everything counts,” says Paco Alba, a Mexican tourist, after taking his photo on one of the Messi murals. “If you don’t have to see it, at least here you come to take your picture,” he says.
Tourists and residents go to every corner in search of the best photo. Some take out their shirts with Messi’s 10, strike a pose and keep the memory forever.
One of the murals, the first to be done in Wynwood, according to its creator, was designed in three days. Venezuelan artist Arlex Ocampo says he has been painting athletes for 10 years and dreamed of this moment. And he found the best place to immortalize his creation on a wall almost five meters high. Ocampo explains that he used the stencil technique, with the use of templates to generate an image. Above, the jersey of Inter and below, that of its national team. “We leave you the detail of the Argentinian jersey”, explains the artist, in tribute to the recent world champion.
A few blocks away, an Argentinian who says he has traveled the world portraying sports stars like Diego Maradona, Max Verstappen, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, and has spent the past few months dedicating his talent to Messi. Maximiliano Bagnasco says that every day -morning and afternoon- he arrives in Wynwood, climbs on the crane and, with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius, he begins to paint one of his idols. “It’s the first time I’ve painted something this big here at Wynwood, and I know a lot of people want it. Paint Messi, and right now…wow, that’s an incredible revolution,” he said. he told CNN.
Maxi ―as he likes to call himself― still doesn’t know the Argentinian player and thinks it’s unlikely to happen, but he assures that a few days ago he already had an unforgettable moment, during the realization of this mural, he received the visit of the Englishman David Beckham, owner of Inter Miami and former footballer. He says that while he doesn’t want to bother Messi by asking him to see his creation, “it would be nice if he showed up by surprise.” For now, he’s content to watch how his current workplace has become a must-visit spot and a key for photos of locals and visitors alike.
A Messi-inspired burger
The art wasn’t just on the walls and moved to the table. Restaurants and bars are paying homage to Messi in the way they know best: by preparing dishes inspired by him.
This is the case of La Birra Bar, a restaurant specializing in hamburgers, located in the heart of the Argentine community that lives in Miami. On July 10, as a tribute to the 10th in the Argentina team, he added the Messy Burger to his menu.
“Messy”, which means disorder in English, makes the pun they decided to call it to avoid problems using its name. This hamburger was created with Argentinian meat, pategras cheese, bacon, mayo churri – a mixture of mayonnaise and chimichurri – and brioche bread, which is crowned with a small flag that reads ” It’s not football, it’s fulbo”, which in Spanish translates “It’s not football, it’s fulbo”, as Messi refers to the sport, says its owner, Daniel Cocchia. “With that and a bit more, we’re launching this product onto the pitch to honor the best, Leo,” he says.
GOAT, the greatest of all time
And what better companion for the high temperatures South Florida is experiencing these days than a cold beer, says Juan Pipkin, owner of Prison Pals. Argentinian, professional pilot and today creator of GOAT, the beer in honor of Messi, Pipkin explains that the design of his label is “an emulation of the jersey of the Miami team with the number 10, its badge and, obviously, the greatest of all time”, whose acronym is GOAT and which in Spanish means the greatest of all time.
There are two beers with the same flavor, a pink and a black, in the colors of the home and substitute jerseys of the Inter Miami team.
Immediately after hearing the news of Messi’s arrival in the team and in the city, like good Argentinians and businessmen, they put their creativity and their love of football into action to produce this product. “Beer has exploded, everyone wants it. It’s a collectible thing, I think, and other than that the product is good,” says Pipkin.
These are just a few examples of Messi’s magic, spin and madness in Miami. The city is dressed in pink and black, as well as the albiceleste of the Argentina team. The inhabitants dream of seeing it and the visitors of having a souvenir of it. Miami has acquired a new dynamic and now, overnight, football, thanks in part to Lionel Messi, has become one of its biggest attractions.