Messi’s first year at Inter Miami earned him a title and showed promise in 2024

Lionel Messi attended a youth tournament in Florida this weekend to watch his son play. He tries to be a normal father, but of course nothing is normal for the best football player in the world.

Everyone was enchanted by him when they were in his presence.

Even his Inter Miami teammates are like that.

For example, take DeAndre Yedlin, a decorated and successful football player with international experience. He has represented the United States in the Premier League and two World Cups. He was captain of the “Garzas” team at the beginning of the season, but when Messi joined the club in July, everything changed instantly.

“Of course, yes, I was dazzled,” Yedlin admitted. “This is a guy I watched and admired as a kid. Of course, when you have a great player in front of you – especially the greatest of them all – I think it’s normal to feel dazzled.”

But Messi is a humble man. It’s not normal. That will certainly be evident on Monday in Paris, when the 36-year-old looks to extend his record by winning the Ballon d’Or (player of the year) for an eighth time. No one has more than five wins.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said earlier this month that team stars Erling Haaland and Lionel Messi deserved the award.

“I’ve always said that the Ballon d’Or must have two parts. One for Messi and one for everyone else,” said Guardiola, who coached Messi at Barcelona. “Messi’s worst season was his best season for most everyone else. “They all deserved it, so what can I say? ” he added.

This will be the 14th time that Messi has been in the top three in the voting, and he will continue to extend this record. He won the title again with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. Now, as a player for Inter Miami, he will certainly do so, which will be the first time an MLS player has received this recognition.

“It’s a joy to play with him on the pitch and share these moments,” said defender Jordi Alba, who was Messi’s team-mate at Barcelona and signed for Inter Milan in the summer.

Messi’s first season – at least the second half – was a huge success in many ways, but a failure in others. The club won its first trophy after Messi led the team to the League Cup.

Stadium attendances have soared, and Inter Miami fan numbers have exploded on social media, as has viewership on Apple TV. In addition, Messi’s No. 10 jersey became the best-selling jersey in Major League Soccer.

But injuries and wear and tear take their toll, and game load can exacerbate these problems.

A leg injury forced Messi to miss almost the entire season, and the team missed the playoffs by a wide margin, but to be fair, they were far from a championship contender long before Messi joined the team.

They have already begun preparations for 2024, starting with two exhibition games in China in November. Next year, Inter Miami is expected to come out with ambitions that want it all: the MLS title, the Carabao Cup, the U.S. Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League.

“July was very difficult for us, we played every three days, we traveled, but we won an important game for the club to prepare for next year,” Messi said during World Cup qualifiers China told reporters after defeating Peru. .World Cup in mid-October. “Then enjoy a holiday in Argentina, for the first time in December I have more time to spend with my people in peace and I will be back again in January for pre-season. Starting from scratch and as always doing as well as possible Prepare.”

For Inter Miami, everything is different. New stars – Messi, Alba and Sergio Busquets – and new coach Gerardo Martino will be able to take part in the 2024 pre-season.

“We’re going to have a four-event season and we have to be well prepared,” said Martino, who is excited to have four months to complete his project.

Almost the entire Inter Miami squad will be intact. Rumors suggest they could add another big name – Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, Messi’s partner at Barcelona.

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