Leading the grand ceremony at the Miami port: Lionel Messi helps baptize and name the world largest ship for Royal Caribbean.

Lionel Messi showed off a new jersey, then helped christen a new ship.

Inter Miami celebrated its partnership with cruise line Royal Caribbean International on Tuesday by sending Messi and his teammates to the Port of Miami, where they took part in the traditional naming of a new ship—the Icon of the Seas, in this case. The ship, which formally sets sail for the first time this weekend, is the longest in the world at 1,198 feet.Image

Messi was the headliner at the ceremony, placing a soccer ball atop a stand to “start” the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle against the bow of the ship—something that is supposed to bring good luck to the vessel and its passengers.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner called it a “privilege.”

“It’s a great honor for me, and I know what it means for the city of Miami and the entire world,” Messi said in Spanish. “So, I named this ship Icon of the Seas. God bless you and all of the people who will sail with her.”

At an earlier event inside a theater aboard the ship, Inter Miami showed off its new black kit for the 2024 season. Messi and his teammates removed pink zippered sweatshirts to reveal the black jersey, trimmed in the team’s traditional pink with a Royal Caribbean logo across the chest.Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi walks through the crowd as he arrives for a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International's new cruise ship Icon of the Seas, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in Miami. The cruise line has named Messi as the official icon of the Icon of the Seas ship. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi walks through the crowd as he arrives for a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International’s new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Miami. The cruise line has named Messi as the official icon of the Icon of the Seas ship. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Messi and Inter Miami leave later this week for Saudi Arabia and a pair of matches next week as part of their international preseason tour. First up is a match against Al-Hilal on January 29, and then on February 1, it’s a match against Al Nassr, which features Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s longtime rival.

But Ronaldo’s health is in serious question. Al Nassr had a pair of matches that were scheduled to be held in China starting this week called off because of what organizers called “physical issues” for Ronaldo—reportedly a calf injury that could take two weeks to heal.

And that might mean Ronaldo vs. Messi won’t happen. At a news conference in China, Ronaldo apologized to fans and said injuries were something he couldn’t control.

Messi and Ronaldo have faced off 35 times between matches for club and country, with Messi´s teams winning 16, Ronaldo´s teams winning 10, and the sides settling for a draw on the other nine occasions. Messi has 21 goals and 12 assists in those matches; Ronaldo has 20 goals and one assist.Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, right, shakes hands with Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, during a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International's new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in Miami. Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, right, shakes hands with Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, during a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International’s new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Miami. Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)A performer hands a soccer ball to Icon of the Seas Captain Henrik Loy, right, as Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, second from right, looks on during a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International's new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in Miami. Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A performer hands a soccer ball to Icon of the Seas Captain Henrik Loy, right, as Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, second from right, looks on during a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International’s new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Miami. Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Television host Mario Lopez speaks during an event on the world's largest cruise ship Icon of the Seas, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in Miami. The MLS soccer team Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Television host Mario Lopez speaks during an event on the world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Miami. The MLS soccer team Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, center, bumps fists with a member of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers bagpipe band, left, during a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International's new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in Miami. Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. At right is Jason Liberty, president and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, center, bumps fists with a member of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers bagpipe band, left, during a naming ceremony for Royal Caribbean International’s new cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Miami. Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. At right is Jason Liberty, president and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)A dancer performs in front of Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, second from left, seated, during an event on the world's largest cruise ship Icon of the Seas, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in Miami. The MLS soccer team Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A dancer performs in front of Inter Miami soccer player Lionel Messi, second from left, seated, during an event on the world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, in Miami. The MLS soccer team Inter Miami CF has formed a partnership with the cruise line Royal Caribbean International. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *