PHOTOS: Messi Begins Training With Inter Miami

The players lined up opposite each other and Messi and Busquets ran through the 'tunnel' to applause and slaps on the back from the other players.


Argentina’s Lionel Messi (L) trains with Inter Miami CF teammates at the Florida Blue Training Center next to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP)

 

Lionel Messi got down to business with his new Inter Miami team-mates on Tuesday, taking part in his first full training session with the Major League Soccer club.

The Argentine World Cup winner took to the club’s training field at 9:00am local time with temperatures already above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Along with his former Barcelona team-mate, Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets, who signed for Miami on Sunday, Messi was given a ‘tunnel’ welcome from his new team.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi (R) trains with Inter Miami CF teammates at the Florida Blue Training Center next to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP)

The players lined up opposite each other and Messi and Busquets ran through the ‘tunnel’ to applause and slaps on the back from the other players.

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Chatting with Venezuelan international Josef Martinez, likely to be his strike partner for Miami, Messi was watched by over 200 media representatives who had attended the session as he did some basic drills.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi (2nd R) trains with Inter Miami CF teammates at the Florida Blue Training Center next to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP)

Miami’s training sessions had barely attracted double figure attendance from the media prior to Messi’s arrival.

Messi had been unveiled to the club’s supporters at the stadium on Sunday at a celebratory event alongside Miami co-owner David Beckham and his first game is scheduled for Friday.

Miami, who are ranked last in the 29-team MLS, face Mexican club Cruz Azul in the opening game of the new Leagues Cup, a tournament style competition featuring all top-flight teams from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi (L) trains with Inter Miami CF teammates at the Florida Blue Training Center next to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP)

It is not clear yet if Messi will start that game or make a cameo appearance from the substitute’s bench and his coach, fellow Argentine Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has asked for patience while the 36-year-old builds up his fitness.

After watching his side’s winless streak extend to 11 games, the recently appointed Martino left open the possibility that Messi might not be ready to go just yet.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi (3rd L) trains with Inter Miami CF teammates at the Florida Blue Training Center next to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP)

“We look to the future with hope (given) that the best player in the world will play for our team, but also with the patience that we have to have so that he can get in good physical shape and can play at the right moment,” he said.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi (C) trains with Inter Miami CF teammates at the Florida Blue Training Center next to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 18, 2023. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

Messi played his last competitive game for Paris Saint-Germain in the French league on June 4 and then turned out for Argentina against Australia in a friendly in Beijing on June 15, scoring after just 79 seconds in a 2-0 win.

AFP