Having narrowly missed out on landing former New England quarterback Tom Brady, Ineos Grenadiers have saved face by signing the Barcelona and Argentina talisman for four years, starting in 2021.
By FAUXSTO COPY
Messi’s signature marks the culmination of a lavish autumn spending spree for the British team, who will also welcome Tour de France podium-getter Richie Porte, rising British star Tom Pidcock, Dauphine winner Dani Martinez, former TdF white jersey winner Adam Yates, and Belgian strongman Laurens De Plus into the fold for 2021.
Early reports suggest Messi will be used primarily as a mountain domestique to support fellow Latin Americans Richard Carapaz and Egan Bernal.
“Messi brings a certain creativity to the team,” said Ineos’ Divine Leader Sir Dave Brailsford.
“Of course, we don’t want him to actually demonstrate any of that on the road – his primary duties will be collecting bidons, covering attacks, and not being on another team.”
Messi issued a short statement to the media through his father, Jorge, who is also his agent.
“While Barcelona will always be in my heart, I look forward to joining Ineos Grenadiers and riding in support of someone else.
“Depending on circumstances, I also look forward to leading the team at races like the Ronde van Aleppo and GP Mogadishu.”
Sources close to Ineos have confirmed Brailsford was also on the verge of signing Nirvana, before due-diligence reports revealed that one third of the band was in no fit state to ride.
With few star riders now left on the market, Brailsford is expected to sign the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Climate Agreement, and a post-Brexit free-trade deal with Europe.
While none of these signings are expected to help his squad win next year’s Tour, he does not want any other team to sign them first and figures it can’t hurt.