In a much-anticipated reunion, global football icon Lionel Messi is gearing up to face his childhood club, Newell’s Old Boys, as part of Inter Miami’s expanded pre-season itinerary. The upcoming matchup is scheduled for February 15, 2024, and will unfold at the DRV PNK Stadium in Miami.
This exciting encounter not only marks Messi’s return to his roots but also adds a poignant touch to the club’s international tour. Inter Miami, under the management of Gerardo Martino, is set to navigate a challenging pre-season schedule that already includes fixtures against El Salvador, a Hong Kong Select XI, and Vissel Kobe.
Lionel Messi’s Time with Newell’s Old Boys’
Messi, who spent six formative years in Newell’s Old Boys’ youth system, scoring an impressive 234 goals, is set to face the club that played a significant role in his early career. Known for his roots in Rosario, the same city as Newell’s, Messi’s connection to the club runs deep. The friendly also holds personal significance for Inter Miami’s manager, Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who not only shares a close relationship with Newell’s but also holds the club record for appearances (505) and managed them in the 2012-13 campaign.
Expressing his excitement about the upcoming match, Martino stated, “I am delighted to welcome my beloved Newell’s to our home here in Miami. It will be a special match due to everything Newell’s Old Boys means to me. It will also be a good opportunity to prepare for what will surely be an exciting season.”
The DRV PNK Stadium will witness the clash between these two football powerhouses, with Inter Miami’s Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director, Chris Henderson, expressing enthusiasm about the home fixture. Henderson said, “We’re very pleased to be able to play this exciting preseason match at home in front of our fans at DRV PNK Stadium. This match against Newell’s is a great addition to a set of matches that will put us in the best position possible to compete in 2024. We’re excited for what is ahead.”
This friendly encounter is part of Inter Miami’s comprehensive pre-season preparations, including an Asia tour with matches in Saudi Arabia against Al Hilal and Al Nassr, providing fans with the highly anticipated Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo face-off.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Set for Saudi Showdown as Inter Miami Joins Riyadh Season Cup
Inter Miami has confirmed its participation in the Riyadh Season Cup in Saudi Arabia, setting the stage for a highly anticipated meeting between football legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The announcement aligns with the earlier statement from Saudi officials regarding the prestigious tournament.
Inter Miami is scheduled to face Al Hilal on January 29 and Ronaldo’s team, Al Nassr, on February 1. Both opponents currently lead the Saudi Pro League, with Ronaldo holding the position of the league’s leading scorer.
Sporting Director Chris Henderson expressed enthusiasm about the challenging matchups, stating, “These matches will offer important tests for our team, which will benefit us as we approach the new season. We’re excited for our group to get the chance to go up against teams with as much quality as Al-Hilal and Al Nassr.“
The clash between Messi and Ronaldo, who have faced off 36 times in matches for club and country, adds an extra layer of excitement to the Riyadh Season Cup. In their previous encounters, Messi’s teams have secured 16 victories, Ronaldo’s teams 11, and nine matches have ended in a draw. Messi has contributed 22 goals and 11 assists, while Ronaldo boasts 21 goals and one assist in these matchups.
Saudi Arabia has been actively pursuing a prominent role in world soccer, attracting some of the sport’s biggest names. Despite this effort, Messi opted for a move to MLS instead of joining the oil-rich kingdom at the end of last season. The upcoming clash between Messi and Ronaldo, widely regarded as two of the greatest players in the sport’s history, adds another chapter to their storied rivalry that spans their prime years at Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.
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