Lionel Messi set to make his Inter Miami debut in Leagues Cup opener against Cruz Azul

Fri, Jul 21, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Lionel Messi set to make his Inter Miami debut in Leagues Cup opener against Cruz Azul

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Lionel Messi's debut gameday with Inter Miami has arrived.

Messi is expected to play Friday night when Inter Miami takes on Cruz Azul in a Leagues Cup match at his new home stadium. Team officials say all tickets - about 21,000, in a newly expanded stadium - have been sold, though thousands were available for resale on secondary markets Friday morning.

It's unclear how much Messi, a World Cup champion for Argentina and someone who Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham calls the best player ever, will be on the field in his debut. He signed a 2-1/2 year contract with Inter Miami this past weekend, and the deal will pay him between $50 million and $60 million annually. That will almost certainly work out to more than $1 million per match.

Other news The next chapter of Lionel Messi's career begins Friday at 18,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium Lionel Messi will make his Inter Miami debut Friday at DRV PNK Stadium, ushering in the next chapter of his career. MLS Commissioner Don Garber talks Messi, Leagues Cup on eve of All-Star Game MLS Commissioner Don Garber figures Lionel Messi's arrival is just the start of an exciting few years for soccer in North America. Jordi Alba to reunite with Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets at Inter Miami Veteran defender Jordi Alba is set to join former FC Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets in Miami. Lionel Messi takes to the practice field for 1st time since signing with Inter Miami Lionel Messi jogged a lap with his new teammates, took part in a warmup drill of players making short passes in a tight circle and before long tapped his left foot at a ball that wound up in the back of an open net.

He was introduced to his new home fans on Sunday and officially trained for the first time as a member of the club Tuesday.

Messi made the decision in June to join Inter Miami and come to Major League Soccer. He considered a return to Barcelona, the club with whom he spent almost the entirety of his career, after spending the last two seasons with Paris Saint-Germain.

But Inter Miami and MLS found a way to land the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner in Messi, setting the stage for an unprecedented era for the club that has largely sputtered during its first four seasons.

Leagues Cup is a tournament between clubs from MLS and Liga MX, the top Mexican league. Cruz Azul won the inaugural version of this event in 2019.

Neither club has enjoyed much success this season. Inter Miami has the fewest points in the MLS standings; Cruz Azul is the only team in the Mexican league yet to record a standings point through the season's first three matches.

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