When will Lionel Messi make his Inter Miami debut? Full schedule, ticket prices and potential first opponent for the superstar
- Lionel Messi shocked the world with his decision to move to MLS and Inter Miami
- He is due to play his first game for Miami in late July or early August.
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Lionel Messi’s decision to swap Paris for Miami shocked the world this week, as he snubbed an emotional return to Barcelona and the billions on offer in Saudi Arabia.
Instead, the World Cup-winning Argentina captain will play for David Beckham’s side in MLS and hopes he can coach them to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The news was first revealed on Wednesday, and a few hours later Messi revealed the news himself in an interview, before Inter Miami themselves posted it on social media.
It sparked wild scenes in Miami, with fans taking to the streets to celebrate the news that arguably the greatest player in football history would be coming to the city.
But there are still many questions that need to be answered. Here, Mail Sport gives you all the information you need before he arrives in America…
Lionel Messi moves to Inter Miami, less than a year after winning the World Cup in Qatar
So when will it debut?
As things stand, Messi is still under contract until June 30, so there’s no way he could play for his new team before then.
He would then, of course, need time to settle into his new surroundings, and early reports claim the earliest he could play is in MLS’s new ‘Coupe des Ligues’ competition.
From a league perspective, there’s huge marketing value in bringing the world’s greatest player into the new competition you’re trying to market to, so expect to see him play a part, with the first game of Inter Miami at home to Cruz Azul on July 21.
Tickets for this game are currently selling for the lowest price of $600.
He’s sure to get a warm welcome after Inter Miami fans flooded the streets in celebration
And what about MLS?
In terms of league appearances, Inter Miami’s home game against Charlotte is expected to be their MLS debut.
After that, the team travels to the Big Apple to take on the New York Red Bulls, and it’s another game fans will likely have to shell out hundreds of dollars to see.
Needless to say, his presence on the pitch will be a huge boost for the team currently struggling for the bottom spot in the MLS Eastern Conference table.
Tickets for his potential debut have skyrocketed, with the Cruz Azul match at a minimum of $600
What is the program for his first months in Miami?
The Leagues Cup is the first for Inter Miami in mid-July, with matches guaranteed against Cruz Azul and Atlanta United on July 21 and 25, and other potential matches if they get past those opponents.
MLS then has its mid-season break, with the MLS All-Star Game taking place in Washington DC during this time.
As for league action, Inter Miami’s remaining fixtures for the season are as follows:
August 20: Charlotte FC (H)
August 26: New York Red Bulls (A)
August 30: Nashville SC (H)
September 3: Los Angeles FC (A)
September 9: Sporting Kansas City (H)
September 16: Atlanta United (A)
September 20: Toronto FC (H)
September 24: Orlando City SC (A)
September 30: New York City FC (M)
October 4: Chicago Fire (A)
October 7: FC Cincinnati (M)
October 21: Charlotte FC (A)
Messi (left) will now join the MLS team which is owned by David Beckham (middle)
Could he play in the MLS All-Star Game?
Messi could find himself in a bizarre situation where he plays in the MLS All-Star Game before he has even played an MLS game.
The game, which takes place against Premier League giants Arsenal on July 19, comes after he started his spell at Inter Miami, but likely before he had played a game for them.
He is of course unlikely to play much time, but the clamor to see him on American soil is such that he could be sent off for a few minutes of play to excite the crowd.