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Chicago Fire Sign Alpine Messi, Immediately Rename Him Lake Michigan Messi

The Chicago Fire have signed Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri from Olympique Lyonnais on a contract until 2024, the Major League Soccer (MLS) club announced on Wednesday, bringing a swift end to his time with the French side.

Shaqiri only joined Lyon from Liverpool in August to strengthen the Ligue 1 side's attacking options but scored just twice in 16 appearances in all competitions.

Lyon said Chicago paid 7 million euros ($8 million) to sign Shaqiri, while the MLS side said the 30-year-old was the most expensive signing in the club's history. As a designated player, his wages are not bound by the league's salary cap.

"Xherdan is a game-changing player and someone who will bring joy to our supporters and the city of Chicago," the club's sporting director Georg Heitz said in a statement. "As one of the most accomplished Swiss athletes of his generation, Xherdan joins us at a very important time for the club and fully believes in what we are aiming to accomplish."

Shaqiri was often used as an impact player off the bench at Liverpool and helped the Anfield side win the Champions League and Premier League titles. He previously played for Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.

He has more than 100 international caps for Switzerland and played in three World Cups and two European Championships. He recently helped them qualify for this year's World Cup in Qatar.

The MLS season begins on Feb. 26 with Chicago playing their first game against Inter Miami.

($1 = 0.8750 euros) (Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk Editing by Toby Davis)

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