Feb 20, 2024 - News

Messi "fully" healthy as Inter Miami begins 2024 season

Lionel Messi is expected to return from injury on Oct. 7, 2023, against FC Cincinnati at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Lionel Messi hasn't even played a full season with Inter Miami, and he already won the club its first championship and sparked a futbol frenzy in South Florida.

Why it matters: As the 2024 season begins this week, expectations are higher for Inter after it signed yet another soccer superstar: the Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.

What's happening: Inter Miami plays its opening match tomorrow night against Real Salt Lake.

Catch up fast: The club won the Leagues Cup tournament last year, but didn't make the playoffs.

  • It was in last place in their conference — and on an 11-game regular season winless streak — when it signed Messi and former Barcelona stars Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets in the middle of the year.
  • Inter will have its eyes set on the MLS Cup and the regional Concacaf Champions Cup this year.

Details: The 8pm match at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale will be broadcast on Apple TV's MLS Season Pass.

  • Tickets start at $75 for the standing section and $100 for regular seats.

What we're watching: Can Messi stay healthy?

An Inter Miami fan holds up a sign praising Lionel Messi.
Jose Jaen, a Lionel Messi fan from Virginia, holds up a handmade sign for her soccer idol. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

💭 Martin's thought bubble: I attended Inter Miami's final preseason match last week, and Messi looked sharp against Newell's Old Boys.

  • He almost scored three times and assisted on another near-miss.
  • Regardless of the 1–1 final score, fans were screaming and stomping on the bleachers all night. Die-hards set off pink smoke canisters and lined up outside the team parking lot.

Jose Jaen, a 27-year-old from Peru, traveled from Virginia to see her idol play. She made a sign that said, "I would die for Messi, the greatest!"

  • "The team has a lot to improve, but Messi is incredible," she said in Spanish. "It's beautiful to see so many Hispanic fans united around him."

Pro tip: Order a churro dog.

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