Cleaner at Inter Miami stadium was fired for asking Lionel Messi for an autograph

The young Cristian Salamanca recounted the moment he met Lionel Messi, but at the same time it cost him his job

see to Messi live is an experience that begins to add chapters in the small stadium of inter miami. And that generates a succession of new images for the central protagonist of this story, but also for the thousands who come, mobilized to see the myth. Many, for the first time in their lives. And how does the machinery of such a spectacle work every time it starts up?

The human cord at the entrance to the stadium is already almost routine. Nearly 200 people, about two hours before the start of the game, remain waiting for the entry of the Argentine star or some celebrity. “Move, move!” shouted a corpulent man who kept clearing the street. Every time a bus with dark windows reaches the gate where the players get off, the song “Meeeessi, Meeeessi” began in unison. Christian Salamancaa young Colombian who lives in Miami For a year and a half, he had been hanging around the area where the bus enters the stadium. He is employed in a company that is in charge of cleaning different sports events and concerts. Days ago it was the first time that he had to work in the Inter. And the last one.

“I had to clean the bathrooms in the sector where the buses park. Fortunately, I was out there when the bus arrived and all the players got out. The last one was Messi. It was enough to yell at him ‘hey, world champion! ”, That he turned to look. I lifted up my uniform shirt and I had down the shirt of the Argentine team and a marker. He gave me his autograph. Security came right away, they took me out and fired me from my job, but it was worth every second” the now unemployed man tells LA NACION with a smile who asks for a cell phone to talk to his wife, who is working inside the stadium, so that she retrieves his belongings. Every worker, whether outsourced or from the club itself, is alerted at the start of their employment that they must maintain a professional behavior and cannot bother 10 with photos or autographs.

The furor for the Argentine crack does not stop. The last three games of the inter miami They have been a show of magic and goals, an unprecedented streak in a team used to losing. That is why in recent weeks six times more shirts have been sold than in all of last year. Merchandising sales continued yesterday inside the stadium, now with more sales staff and somewhat shorter but incessant queues. That day people continued to arrive from different countries South America and all corners of USA. “I came from Missouri to see Messi” (All the way from Missouri to see Messi) expressed one of the many posters. A lady takes a picture from the stands towards the field, where all the backs of the spectators are seen in front of her. “Look at this photo-she says to her neighbor-of her, they are all number 10 ″.

Leo’s bodyguard is a burly man of French origin. Bald and dressed in black, he is unfazed by miraculous goals or saves: his mission is to calmly accompany the superstar from off the pitch in the direction the idol runs as he plays. As if he were the DT, he is the only one who moved around the perimeter of the field throughout the game, without exaggerated movements but without losing sight of his objective. When the last whistle blew, he went straight to his shoulder and walked about fifteen feet behind him. He gave him time to greet his teammates and opponents, until he took him up close and escorted him out after some request for a photo that slipped in on the way from the field to the locker room.

Only a handful of VIP guests have reserved the central boxes: the team’s coaching staff, the Más brothers (Jorge and José) -the owners of the club-, david beckham and the family Messi. Any other mortal who took a box for 14 people last night had to pay a figure close to US $ 30,000, which varies with each game. The relatives of the players sat in the first rows of the stands together with the spectators. among them was maxi rodriguezwho had the patience to take photos with people outside and inside the stadium.

With around 95% of seats filled, unsold tickets dropped from the cheapest $150 at the start of the day to $80 minutes before the game. This made the ticket resale outside the stadium disappear. In the first matches there were people offering more expensive tickets in the parking lot than on the club’s official website, something that did not happen that day.

Several long-distance buses brought fans of the stadium to the gates of the stadium. Orlando City, all with their purple t-shirts. They would not be more than a thousand, and -except for the goal celebration-, they were practically not heard throughout the night. The rivalry did not go beyond some whistle towards the violets. The fans passed each other in the parking lot, but there was not even a word exchange. A few days ago a Messi mural was vandalized in the area called Wynwood. As it was splattered with purple paint, at that time it was suspected that the perpetrators may have been fans of Inter Miami’s more “classic” rival. Nobody seemed to remember it, while the locals won the game that allowed them to advance to the round of 16 of the League Cup.

As the night wore on, the local barra brava (a group of peaceful fans) kept their dream alive. The game started almost 95 minutes later because of the rain. Even in that time of waiting, under the stands, sheltered from the rays, the fans of pink kept up their extensive repertoire with pure whistling and drumming. The chants are 100% Argentine and were heard throughout the game. At the end of the day, the loudspeakers of the “La Gozadera” stadium sounded, right there where Mark Anthony sings “Miami confirmed it to me”. It could not be otherwise.