When Lionel Messi came to South Florida in June, Inter Miami and MLS set out to introduce the Argentinian World Cup winner to the American scene. The timing was perfect, given the club’s previous poor results.
Despite low expectations, a few weeks later, they became Leagues Cup champions, Messi’s name was everywhere, and the club not only gained a fan base but captured the attention of the entire country.
Now, looking at the present, there are clear expectations and goals. Messi, along with teammates like Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, should be feeling refreshed after a long break. Manager Tata Martino has a revamped squad, with key arrivals like Julian Gressel and the notable addition of Luis Suárez.
With these reinforcements and higher expectations for success, globalizing Inter Miami is crucial. After all, it’s not just a football club; it’s a business.
Inter Miami’s preseason is like a global tour, similar to Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” concerts. Messi’s team will play a total of seven matches (maybe more), with only two of them in the U.S.
The team is in El Salvador, getting ready to play against the national team at Estadio Cuscatlán
Right now, the team is in El Salvador, getting ready to play against the national team at Estadio Cuscatlán in the capital.
Soon after, they’ll be at the Cotton Bowl in Texas, facing FC Dallas, and then off to Saudi Arabia for matches against Al Hilal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr in Riyadh, which is expected to be a big money-making game.
After those exciting stops, the team will fly to Hong Kong for a match against their all-star XI and then to Tokyo to play against J1 League champions Vissel Kobe, where Andrés Iniesta, a legend from Barcelona and Spain, used to play.
And there’s more. After wrapping up this extensive trip, Inter Miami will return to Ft. Lauderdale for one last preseason match, a special game against Messi’s (and Martino’s) first love: Newell’s Old Boys.
This tour is a big deal, and it’s crucial for the club to make the most of Messi and his teammates for marketing. But for Martino, the main focus is managing their playing time.
Ultimately, all these stadiums will be packed for one reason: Lionel Messi. So the big question is, how much of Messi will fans get to see during this global pre-season tour?
Ivan Toney is back in action after serving an eight-month ban
Ivan Toney is back in action after serving an eight-month ban for breaking FA’s betting rules. He’s paid his dues, gone through his punishment, and is now focused on making a comeback.
The big question is whether he’ll stay with Brentford or move to another club willing to pay the hefty fee he commands due to his impressive record as a striker in the Premier League (32 goals in 68 appearances).
Toney expresses his desire to play for a top club, but the timing and the right offer remain uncertain.
Arsenal seems like a great fit, given their need for a reliable goal-scorer, but their financial constraints make it challenging. There’s also the loyalty factor, as Brentford supported him and his family during the tough times of his ban.
The England striker, eyeing a spot in the national squad for the Euros, might play this weekend against Nottingham Forest, and there’s confidence that if he gets on the field, he’ll find the net.
The question lingers: Should Toney stick with the club that stood by him during this challenging period?
Jordan Henderson in the Saudi Pro League
Back in September, Jordan Henderson faced controversy for moving to Saudi Arabia and joining Al Ettifaq.
Despite criticism from the LGBTQIA+ community due to the country’s poor human rights record, including harsh laws against homosexuality, Henderson insisted his decision had positive aspects. He claimed it wasn’t just about money but about reuniting with Steven Gerrard and taking on a new challenge.
Contrary to reports of him earning £700,000 a week, Henderson is now set to move to the Netherlands with Ajax six months after his transfer.
It’s noted that he won’t receive any payments from Al Ettifaq after deferring wages for tax reasons in the UK. However, the more significant impact has been on his reputation as a defender of LGBTQIA+ rights and equality.
Henderson, known for his impeccable reputation before moving to Saudi Arabia, has contributed significantly to various communities throughout his career.
He led an initiative during the pandemic to raise funds for NHS workers and consistently advocated for inclusivity and queer representation in men’s football.
While the move to Saudi Arabia has tarnished his reputation, it’s not fair to condemn Henderson for the rest of his career. Instead, it’s hoped that this situation serves as a lesson for him and other players, emphasizing the importance of honesty over creating an ideal public image.