Lionel Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and one of the greatest soccer players of all time, has recently joined Inter Miami in a shocking move that has shaken the soccer world. However, fans who were eagerly waiting to see him make his debut for the MLS club will have to wait a little longer, as he is not in the starting lineup for the Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul on Friday night.
Reasons for Messi’s absence from the starting lineup
According to reports from TyC Sports and USA Today, Messi is not starting for Inter Miami because of two main reasons:
- He has only trained with the team for a few days, and he is not fully fit or match-ready after a long vacation following his Copa America triumph with Argentina.
- His coach, Gerardo Martino, who also coached him at Barcelona and Argentina, has decided to not expose him to a full match and risk an injury or fatigue, especially considering that Inter Miami is struggling in the MLS standings and needs him for the rest of the season.
When will Messi make his debut for Inter Miami?
Messi is expected to play the final 30 minutes of the match against Cruz Azul, according to TyC Sports. This means that he will likely come off the bench around the 60th minute mark and try to make an impact in his first appearance for his new club. Fans who have paid over $1,000 for tickets to see him play will have to be patient and hope that he can show some of his magic in the limited time he will have on the field.
- What is the Leagues Cup?
The Leagues Cup is a tournament between clubs from MLS and Liga MX, the top Mexican league. It started in 2019 and features eight teams from each league. The winner qualifies for the 2024 CONCACAF Champions League.
- Who are Cruz Azul?
Cruz Azul is one of the most successful and popular clubs in Mexico. They have won nine league titles, six CONCACAF Champions League titles, and one Copa Libertadores runner-up medal. They are currently the reigning champions of Liga MX and the CONCACAF Champions League.
- Where can I watch Inter Miami vs Cruz Azul?
The game between Inter Miami and Cruz Azul will be available to watch or live stream on Fubo (free trial) or MLS Pass on Apple TV in the US. The game starts at 8 p.m. ET at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.