MLS

Lionel Messi expected to make MLS debut with Inter Miami CF on July 21

By Sports Desk June 20, 2023

Inter Miami CF owner Jorge Mas said Lionel Messi is expected to make his MLS debut on July 21 against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.

Mas spoke to reporters on Monday and said Messi had agreed to terms on a contract.

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that the deal will run through the end of the 2025 season with an option for 2026 and be worth $50-60 million per year.

Messi, who turns 36 years old on Saturday, announced on June 7 that he would be joining Miami after his exit from Paris Saint-Germain.

He led Argentina to their first World Cup success since 1986 in Qatar last year, and the Barcelona great has won the Ballon d'Or trophy a record seven times.

“I think there will always be a before and after Messi when we talk about the sport in the United States," Mas told the Miami Herald.

“I have a very, very strong held belief that we can create in North America and the United States if not the greatest league, one of the top two leagues in the world.

“I cannot over emphasize the magnitude of this announcement.”

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    "LAFC are one of the best teams in the league," Wolff began. "They have enough weapons, and their attacking players are ruthless and are extremely dangerous.

    "For me they are the best team in the league once again. I think they have so much talent and so much depth which goes a long way in this league. If it's a difficult day, they still have players to make plays. 

    "We have got to do better with our chances. Our key players have to perform and execute."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi

    The Austin captain will hope to mark his 100th appearance for the club with a goal, and is currently the top scorer for the Verde and Black's with five goals. 

    LAFC – Mateusz Bogusz

    Mateusz Bogusz has been involved in a goal in six consecutive league matches with four goals and two assists. 

    Only Carlos Vela (11 in 2019-20) has produced more in LAFC history, while only two players (Luciano Acosta - nine, Lionel Messi - eight) have had a longer streak in MLS this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LAFC WIN

    LAFC enter the contest as the favourites to emerge with the three points.

    Cherundolo's side have won eight consecutive matches in all competitions. The only MLS team to win nine straight matches outright (excluding breakaway shootout wins) in all competitions were the Seattle Sounders in 2018.

    The Black and Gold's are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Austin scoring at least three goals in each of those triumphs. 

    Austin's last victory over their opponents came in 2022, with the Texas side winning both of their MLS encounters with LAFC that season. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Austin FC - 27.6%

    Draw - 24.1%

    LAFC - 48.3%

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