Lionel Messi is expected to make his long-awaited debut for Inter Miami on Friday (Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul). It will not be his formal MLS debut because it will take place in the Leagues Cup versus Cruz Azul of Liga MX.
With Sergio Busquets now on the team (and Jordi Alba officially signing on Thursday), Inter Miami’s season prospects have drastically changed, and this could be our first look at how the World Cup winner might fit into his new team, which has continued to overhaul their roster in search of success.
Lionel Messi scores a game-winner for Inter Miami vs Cruz Azul
How to watch Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul and odds
- Date: Friday, July 21 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: DRV Pink Stadium — Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
- TV: TUDN and Univision | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
How much should we expect to see of Messi?
Well, the club reportedly confirmed that he will play and even Messi posted on Instagram “see you Friday.” Now, it’s been a good bit since he’s played and he only started training this week. While it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see him start with how competitive he is, it feels like the wise decision from Tata Martino would be to give him a run in the second half, a good 30 minutes or so might be the most we see. If he does begin on the bench and Inter go down a couple goals, he may see him sooner.
What is the Leagues Cup?
It’s an annual tournament between MLS teams and Liga MX teams that started four years ago. It consists of a group stage and then a knockout stage and is sort of like a mini World Cup-style cup for these clubs. It’s played all the way through the 19th of August when the final takes place. This is the first time that all 47 teams between the two leagues will compete in the tournament which each league pausing their domestic competitions in order to participate. The three best-performing teams (champion, finalist and third-place winner) qualify for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, formerly known as the Concacaf Champions League.
The MLS side get off on the right foot with Messi scoring a goal in his debut. Pick: Inter Miami 2, Cruz Azul 1