Bridgeview, Illinois:Mexican forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco arrived in Chicago on Monday, a day before Major League Soccer's Fire said he was to sign with the club.
Blanco will become the latest high-profile player to join an MLS club under the US league's "designated player rule" following England's David Beckham, who signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy in January, and former US international Claudio Reyna, who will debut for the New York Red Bulls when the season opens on Saturday.
Like Beckham, Blanco's contract with Mexico City side Club America expires in June, after which the El Tri veteran will be eligible to join Chicago. Beckham's contract with Real Madrid also expires in June.
Thousands turned out at the Fire's Toyota Park in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview to welcome the 34-year-old Blanco, who officially will sign with the MLS club on Tuesday.
"I am coming to Chicago," Blanco told the crowd. "I am very happy and will giving 100 percent for Chicago to be in the final. I look forward to working with this group of players to bring a championship to Chicago, a community that has always supported me, in good times and in bad times. I hope to bring great satisfaction to all of you."
Blanco, who has played most of his career with Las Aguilas but also Necaxa, Veracruz and Real Valladolid of Spain, has 95 caps and 25 goals with Mexico, six of which came at the 1999 Confederations Cup when he led Mexcio to the title.