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Messi eager to face new challenge at Inter Miami

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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Final - Argentina v France - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 18, 2022 Argentina's Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup trophy after receiving the Golden Ball award as he celebrates after winning the World Cup REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

Lionel Messi has no regrets about his decision to join Inter Miami and said he is eager to face a new challenge.

The 36-year-old arrived in the United States on Tuesday ahead of his presentation as an Inter Miami player at a special event on Sunday.

“I’m happy with the decision we made. I’m ready and eager to face the new challenge,” Messi said in an interview with Argentinian TV on Tuesday.

“My mentality and my head are not going to change and I will try, wherever I am, to give the maximum for myself and for the club, to continue to perform at the highest level.”

The club is preparing a to hold a special event for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s presentation at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

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“Fans will be able to enjoy an exciting night of entertainment, on-the-pitch speeches and more,” the club said in a statement, adding tickets would be free of charge for season ticket holders.

The World Cup winner will be reunited with former Barcelona team mate Sergio Busquets at Inter Miami as well as former Argentina coach Gerardo Martino

Messi is expected to make his debut for the club on July 21 in a Leagues Cup clash against Mexican side Cruz Azul.

-Reuters

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Luis Suarez Ready To Hang Boots –

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Luis Suarez Ready To Hang Boots -

Inter Miami will be the last club Luis Suarez plays for, the Uruguay striker said on Thursday.

Suarez, 37, signed a contract with the Major League Soccer side last year for the 2024 season after a stint with Brazilian club Gremio.

He reunited with former Barcelona team mates Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, with whom he won four LaLiga titles in five years in Spain.

“Inter Miami will be my last club, my family already know that. I don’t have a date yet, but it’s the last step,” Suarez said in an interview with Uruguayan radio station Del Sol.

“I’m ready for this last challenge, but there is an inevitable fatigue and, in the end, I want to have quality of life in the future,” he added.

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Suarez, who also played for clubs including Ajax Amsterdam, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, has won 138 caps for Uruguay since 2007.

Inter Miami kick off their MLS campaign against Real Salt Lake on Feb. 21.

-Reuters

 

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Messi-less Miami lose U.S. Open Cup final to Houston

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Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami watches from the stands against the Houston Dynamo during the 2023 U.S. Open Cup Final at DRV PNK Stadium on September 27, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Photo: AFP

The Houston Dynamo defeated Inter Miami 2-1 to win the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday with an injured Lionel Messi watching from the stands at DRV PNK Stadium.

Without Messi and his former Barcelona team-mate Jordi Alba, Miami struggled to compete with an enterprising Houston and went in 2-0 down at the break.

Houston grabbed the lead in the 24th minute with a perfect counter-attack ending with Brazilian Artur feeding the overlapping Griffin Dorsey who blasted in at the near post.

French forward Amine Bassi doubled the lead from the penalty spot nine minutes later after DeAndre Yedlin had brought down Nelson Quinones.

Houston thought that they had scored a third after the break but Quinones’ effort was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

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Substitute Josef Martinez gave Miami some late hope with a left-foot strike in stoppage time after latching on to a ball from Argentine Facundo Farias.

But despite some late pressure, it was too little, too late from Miami and Houston deservedly won their second U.S. Open Cup to add to their triumph in 2018.

Miami had won the Leagues Cup last month with Messi prominently involved but they must now battle to make the Major League Soccer play-offs with uncertainty over their Argentine star’s fitness.

-AFP

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Inter Miami to wait until ‘last moment’ to decide on Messi fitness for Cup final

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Inter Miami will wait until the “last moment” to see if Lionel Messi is fit to play in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo, coach Gerardo Martino said.

Messi was substituted in Inter’s league match against Toronto FC before halftime with an unspecified injury, and missed Sunday’s clash against rivals Orlando City.

The Argentina captain is a doubt for the U.S. Open Cup final when his team will aim to claim their second title after winning the Leagues Cup last month.

“We are going to wait for Leo until tomorrow, until the last moment,” Martino told a news conference on Tuesday. “I’m going to sit down with him, see what his feelings are (…) We’ll probably come to an agreement tomorrow.

“There are three issues here: there is the player, then the final, and then what comes next. We have to try to make the decision, there are always risks, but we have to reduce them.”

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The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 11 goals and provided five assists in 12 games for Inter Miami since his arrival from Paris St Germain in July.

The Miami side are yet to lose with Messi on the pitch and Martino said he would not consider playing the 36-year-old if it were not a cup final.

“It’s 90 or 120 minutes that stand between you and a title,” said the Argentine boss. “It’s logical. If it was any other kind of game we wouldn’t take any risks.”

-Reuters

 

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