It’s finally official. Inter Miami announced the signing of global superstar Lionel Messi in an exhilarating video that caught the eye of the footballing world.
Sí, Muchachos📍 pic.twitter.com/8E3f9hb9VU
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) July 15, 2023
Messi signing for Inter Miami in an eye-spinning deal has been an open secret for a while now and now the Inter Miami Stadium is all set to see one of football history’s greatest-ever players grace the pitch.
David Beckham’s side are not having a good time in the MLS, lying bottom of the league after losing to St Louis.
Messi has already shown that despite his advancing years, he still has the magic to transform a team and Inter Miami will be hoping that some of that stardust lifts their fortunes as well.
So, when is Lionel Messi’s debut for Inter Miami, and who does he begin his MLS career against? Here’s all you need to know-
When is Messi’s debut for Inter Miami?
Messi is expected to make his Inter Miami debut on July 21 against Mexican side Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.
Leagues Cup is a new venture by the MLS in collaboration with Liga MX, the Mexican league.
The transfer window in the USA opened on July 5th, but the July 15th game against St Louis was always going to come too soon for the Argentine.
July 21 and July 25 will be two home games for Inter Miami and Messi is expected to play a part in both.
Messi’s stardom can be gauged from the fact that the whole tournament schedule of the Leagues Cup has been adjusted to put full focus on his debut for his new club.
Inter Miami vs Cruz Azul wasn’t going to be the opening game of the Leagues Cup but Messi’s popularity demanded that it be shifted to get the maximum possible eyeballs on this game.
With his signing officially announced now, fans can look forward to seeing the superstar in action for his new club on July 21, in front of his own fans.
No smooth sailing at Inter Miami
Of course, once the gleam of the debut fades off, it will be back to competitive action. Inter Miami, for all their glitz and signings, have been badly struggling in the MLS.
They’ve won just five of their 22 league games to sit bottom of the Eastern Conference, far away from any potential playoffs picture.
Having signed Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi, with Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba potentially joining them, the onus will be on these superstars to drag this team out of the purgatory.
Inter Miami have greatly underachieved with respect to the talent at their disposal. Players like Josef Martinez and DeAndre Yedlin have been gritting it out in the lower echelons despite their talent.
They recently fired their coach, Manchester United legend Phil Neville, and replaced him with one of Messi’s former coaches, Gerardo “Tata” Martino.
The results haven’t seen a huge upswing since then, with the team falling to a limp 0-3 defeat away to St Louis recently. They are on a six-game winless run in the MLS and if relegation was a concept in the USA, Messi could very well have been playing in United States’ second division next season.
The team will hope that the momentum Messi’s signing brings will catapult them up the table as despite being bottom, they have two games in hand. Winning them both will solidify their position away from the basement and then they can start looking upwards.
But for now, the world awaits Messi’s debut against Cruz Azul on July 21.