The Argentine superstar, Messi will claim his first American championship in less than a month.
Leo Messi has achieved every possible sporting triumph, whether it is with Barcelona, PSG, or the Argentina national team. However, he will encounter a career-first circumstance with his new venture in Miami: being at the bottom of his league. It is something that detractors attribute to the comparison with Diego Maradona: commanding a team that is not intended to win to do so. Messi has always been with elite teams.
The Leagues Cup, a competition contested by MLS and Liga MX clubs, is Messi‘s first chance to lift his first title with Inter Miami as captain of the club. Wins over Cruz Azul (1-2) and Atlanta United (4-0) have seen the Florida side qualify for the Round of 16. From there, there are four games until the final on 19 August. LAFC and Pachuca will be Inter Miami‘s most dangerous opponents. They could meet the Mexicans in a hypothetical quarter-final.
But in the round of 32, Messi‘s side would meet either Orlando City or Santos Laguna. The Americans are in the same conference as Leo‘s side and are 19 points ahead of them, while the Mexicans have won just one of their last three games in the Apertura MX. In addition, in the last Clausura, Santos Laguna finished at the bottom of the table (13th out of 18 teams). Therefore, they look like a more feasible opponent for Inter Miami. On 29 July, Messi‘s first direct play-off opponent since arriving in the United States will be decided.
Should he achieve the feat of lifting the Leagues Cup title with Inter Miami, he would become the first player from an MLS club to lift the trophy. In the previous two editions, Cruz Azul (2019) and Leon (2021) won the final. The 2020 and 2022 editions were not played because of the coronavirus pandemic and the World Cup in Qatar, respectively. In this way, Messi could put an end to Mexico’s hegemony in the competition.