CONCACAF Champions Cup: Inter Miami faces Nashville. Young star Federico Redondo used to watch Lionel Messi and now they are teammates.

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Lionel Messi shines again in first Inter Miami start, scores twice in 4-0 win over Atlanta ap/photo

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — It wasn’t that long ago that Federico Redondo would find himself studying players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez from afar.

He has a better vantage point now that he shares a locker room with them.

Things are happening quickly for the 21-year-old Redondo, a midfielder who signed a four-year contract with Inter Miami last month. The son of longtime Argentina national team player Fernando Redondo — a former Real Madrid and AC Milan player — was formally introduced by his new club on Tuesday.

“It’s awesome,” Redondo said. “I grew up seeing these kind of players. And it’s a dream come true to play with them.”

Inter Miami sees short- and long-term benefits from signing Redondo. He was brought in as a season-ending injury replacement for Facundo Farias, who was lost to a torn ACL in a preseason match back in January. And on a roster that’s led by four players all in their mid-30s — Alba is the youngest of Inter Miami’s Big Four and he turns 35 later this month — it’s important to stockpile young talent for the future.

“We believe in his potential,” team sporting director and chief soccer officer Chris Henderson said when Inter Miami signed Redondo.

Acclimation to a star-heavy locker room isn’t going to be difficult for Redondo, given that he’s been around top players for his entire life. His father was UEFA’s Club Footballer of the Year for the 1999-2000 season. Messi won that award in 2008-09, then won it twice more when it was essentially rebranded to UEFA men’s player of the year in 2011.

Another winner of that club footballer award: David Beckham, part of Inter Miami’s ownership group. He won it in 1998-99, the season before Fernando Redondo got the trophy.

“For me, it’s more like an honor,” Federico Redondo said of carrying on his family’s soccer legacy. “I know my dad was one of the of the best at his position. It helps me a lot because we always talk about the matches. He teaches me a lot of things.”

Redondo has some goals for the season — he’d like to play with Argentina at the Paris Olympics (and has a chance), plus he knows Inter Miami has high hopes of collecting multiple trophies this year including what would be the franchise’s first MLS title.

“I’m really excited to be a part of this,” he said.

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