With the days ticking toward Inter Miami's inaugural MLS season, the club has officially landed a big-name signing at last.
It's not Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao or any of the other handfuls of international stars linked to the club—fairly or not—in recent months. Mexican midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro has the honor of being the club's first true marquee signing, leaving Monterrey in Liga MX to reunite with his former manager, Diego Alonso, at one of MLS's two new clubs.
Monterrey confirmed his exit last Wednesday night after a protracted transfer saga that appeared to be on and off for weeks for various reasons. In the end, Miami will pay a reported $12 million for Pizarro, who becomes the club's second Designated Player after one of its two initial signings in July, 19-year-old Argentine winger Matias Pellergini. Pizarro arrived in Miami for his medical last Thursday, trained with the club on Friday and played–and even scored–in a preseason match over the weekend before Inter Miami finally made his signing official on Monday.
“We’re very happy to have a player of Rodolfo’s quality join the club,” Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough said in a statement. "He is a creative midfielder who strengthens our roster and elevates everyone’s quality on the field.”
Pizarro, who turned 26 this past weekend, enjoyed a distinguished run in Liga MX with Pachuca, Chivas and Monterrey and has 25 caps with the Mexican national team, though he was omitted from Juan Carlos Osorio's team at the 2018 World Cup. He won one Liga MX title at each of his three previous clubs and Concacaf Champions League titles with Chivas and Monterrey, the latter coming last year with Alonso as his coach. He also appeared for Monterrey at the Club World Cup as part of the team that pushed Liverpool in a tight semifinal showdown.
He'll be counted on to find his top form under a familiar manager as the centerpiece of the expansion club's new project and becomes the latest star to bolt Liga MX for MLS this winter. Others include Lucas Zelarayan (Tigres to Columbus Crew), Edison Flores (Morelia to D.C. United), Alan Pulido (Chivas to Sporting Kansas City), Oswaldo Alanis (Chivas to San Jose Earthquakes) and Felipe Mora (Pumas to Portland Timbers).
Inter Miami begins play on March 1 at Supporters' Shield–holding LAFC. Its first home match at its temporary new stadium at the site of the old Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale is slated for March 14 against the L.A. Galaxy–club owner David Beckham's former team–which for Pizarro represents a showdown on an individual level against countrymen Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Jonathan Dos Santos.