Messi to make debut as Inter Miami tries to salvage season
They're on an 11-game regular season winless streak and are arguably the worst team in the league.The Lionel Messi era officially kicks off tonight.
Why it matters: Messi mania is already at a fever pitch in South Florida, and the legendary Argentine striker hasn't played a single minute yet for Inter Miami.
- Hordes of fans are stalking Messi outside training sessions, his pink No. 10 jersey is everywhere, and the media circus is in town from all over the world for his first game in front of the home crowd.
- The game is at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and streams on Apple TV+ and Univision.
- Tickets on the resale market start around $205 plus fees.
Between the lines: The MLS plays in this tournament for the next month, which is good for an Inter Miami team that could use the time away from the regular season. They're on an 11-game regular season winless streak and are arguably the worst team in the league.
- Luckily they now have perhaps the best soccer player ever in Messi, who won last year's World Cup with Argentina and was voted the player of the tournament.
What they're saying: But with just 12 games left in the season, the club is a long shot to make the playoffs even with Messi, says Inter Miami reporter Austin Robillard of Five Reasons Sports Network.
- Robillard tells Axios that the team's focus this year should be on trying to win the Leagues Cup or U.S. Open Cup, another in-season tournament in which Inter has already advanced to August's semifinals.
The bottom line: Even if Inter Miami loses all of its remaining games, Robillard says Messi mania won't fade.
- "The success on the field will only add to it, but him being Lionel Messi … there are people that are going to be there no matter what," he says.
Editor's note: This story was corrected to note Inter Miami is on an 11 game regular season winless streak and not an 11 game losing streak, as it has tied three matches over its last 11.
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