Charlotte FC vs Inter MiamiCharlotte FC vs Inter Miami

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time, who has won countless trophies and awards with Barcelona and Argentina. However, in the summer of 2023, he shocked the world by leaving Barcelona and joining Inter Miami, a new club in Major League Soccer (MLS) owned by his former teammate David Beckham.

Many fans and pundits were curious to see how Messi would perform in MLS, a league that is often considered as inferior and less competitive than the top European leagues. However, Messi’s adventure in MLS turned out to be a disaster, as he failed to lead Inter Miami to the playoffs and ended the season with a defeat against Charlotte FC.

In this blog post, we will analyze what went wrong for Messi and Inter Miami in MLS, and what the future holds for them. We will also discuss the impact of Messi’s transfer on MLS and world soccer in general.

Why Did Messi Join Inter Miami?

Messi’s decision to join Inter Miami was one of the most surprising and controversial transfers in soccer history. Messi had spent his entire career at Barcelona, where he became the club’s all-time top scorer and won 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League titles, six Ballon d’Or awards, and many other honors.

However, Messi’s relationship with Barcelona deteriorated in the last few years, due to various factors such as poor management, financial problems, lack of sporting project, and disappointing results. Messi tried to leave Barcelona in 2020, but was forced to stay due to a contractual dispute.

In 2023, Messi finally became a free agent and was able to choose his next destination. Many clubs were interested in signing him, such as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Manchester City, Chelsea, and Juventus. However, Messi surprised everyone by choosing Inter Miami, a club that had only been founded in 2018 and had never won anything in MLS.

Messi explained that he wanted a new challenge and a different life experience in America. He also said that he was attracted by Inter Miami’s ambition and vision, as well as the opportunity to play with his former teammate David Beckham, who is the owner and president of the club.

Messi signed a two-year contract with Inter Miami, with an option for a third year. He reportedly earned $50 million per year, making him the highest-paid player in MLS history.

How Did Messi Perform in MLS?

Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami was greeted with great excitement and expectation by the fans and media. Many hoped that Messi would bring his magic and brilliance to MLS, and elevate the level and popularity of the league. Many also expected that Messi would help Inter Miami become a dominant force in MLS, and compete for trophies.

However, Messi’s debut season in MLS was far from successful. He struggled to adapt to the new environment, culture, language, style of play, and refereeing. He also suffered from injuries and fatigue, as he had to travel long distances for games and international duty.

Messi only scored seven goals and provided one assist in 22 games for Inter Miami. He also failed to register a single goal or assist in his last six games. He was often frustrated and isolated on the pitch, as he could not connect well with his teammates or influence the game.

Inter Miami also performed poorly as a team throughout the season. They finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, with only five wins, three draws, and 14 losses. They scored only 22 goals and conceded 36 goals. They also failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Inter Miami’s last game of the season was against Charlotte FC, a newly promoted team that had surprised many by reaching the playoffs in their first year. The game was played on October 22nd at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Inter Miami lost 0-1 to Charlotte FC, thanks to a goal by Calderon Vargas in the 13th minute. Messi played the full 90 minutes, but could not prevent his team from losing. He looked dejected and unhappy as he left the field. He did not speak to the media after the game. He only congratulated Charlotte FC’s players and coach Frank Lampard, who was his former teammate at Chelsea.

What Went Wrong for Messi and Inter Miami?

Messi’s failure to shine in MLS can be attributed to several factors, such as:

  • Lack of quality and chemistry in the team: Inter Miami had a lot of star players, such as Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi, Rodolfo Pizarro, and Messi himself. However, they did not have a balanced and cohesive team, as they lacked depth, creativity, and solidity in other positions. They also did not have a clear identity or philosophy, as they changed their formation and tactics frequently. Messi often looked isolated and frustrated on the pitch, as he could not find any support or understanding from his teammates.
  • Poor coaching and management: Inter Miami’s coach was Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, who had previously coached Barcelona and Argentina national team. Martino was expected to bring his experience and knowledge to Inter Miami, and create a team that could play attractive and effective soccer. However, Martino failed to impose his ideas and methods on the team, as he could not find the best system or lineup to suit his players. He also failed to motivate and inspire his players, especially Messi, who had a close relationship with him. Martino was sacked by Inter Miami at the end of the season.

Inter Miami’s management was also criticized for their lack of vision and planning. They spent a lot of money on signing big-name players, but did not invest enough in developing the infrastructure, academy, or scouting network of the club. They also did not have a clear sporting project or direction, as they changed their coach and players frequently.

High expectations and pressure: Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami created a lot of hype and expectation among the fans and media. Many expected Messi to dominate MLS and lead Inter Miami to glory. However, this also created a lot of pressure and scrutiny on Messi and his teammates. They had to deal with the constant attention and criticism from the public, especially when they did not perform well. Messi also had to cope with the comparison and contrast with his former rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who had joined PSG in 2023 and had won the Champions League and Ballon d’Or with them.

Difficult environment and competition: MLS is a league that is often underestimated and overlooked by many soccer fans and pundits around the world. However, MLS is actually a very challenging and competitive league, that has its own characteristics and difficulties. MLS has a long and grueling season, that runs from March to November. MLS also has a complex and unpredictable playoff system, that can change the fate of any team. MLS also has a lot of diversity and parity among its teams, that can pose different threats and challenges to any opponent.

Messi had to adapt to a new environment, culture, language, style of play, and refereeing in MLS. He also had to face different types of opponents, who were often physical, aggressive, and defensive against him. He also had to travel long distances for games, which affected his fitness and performance.

What Is the Future for Messi and Inter Miami?

Messi’s future at Inter Miami is uncertain, as he has not confirmed whether he will stay or leave the club. Messi has one more year left on his contract with Inter Miami, with an option for a third year. However, he may decide to terminate his contract early or look for another club.

Messi may have some options to consider for his next move, such as:

  • Return to Barcelona: Messi may have a chance to return to Barcelona, if the club can sort out their financial and sporting problems. Barcelona still have a strong emotional bond with Messi, who is their legend and icon. Messi may also want to end his career at Barcelona, where he started and achieved everything.
  • Join another MLS club: Messi may choose to stay in MLS, but join another club that can offer him more chances of winning trophies and playing attractive soccer. There are some clubs in MLS that have shown interest in signing Messi, such as LA Galaxy, New York City FC, Atlanta United, and Seattle Sounders.
  • Join another European club: Messi may decide to return to Europe, where he can play in a more competitive and prestigious league. There are some clubs in Europe that may be able to afford Messi’s salary and meet his demands, such as PSG, Manchester City, Chelsea, Juventus, or Bayern Munich.

Inter Miami’s future is also unclear, as they have to rebuild their team and project after a disappointing season. Inter Miami have already appointed a new coach for next season: Mauricio Pochettino, who had previously coached Tottenham Hotspur and PSG. Pochettino is expected to bring his experience and philosophy to Inter Miami, and create a team that can play exciting and effective soccer.

Inter Miami may also have to make some changes in their squad for next season. They may have to sell some of their star players who did not perform well or fit in the team’s system. They may also have to sign some new players who can improve the quality and balance of the team.

Some of the players who may leave Inter Miami are Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi, and Rodolfo Pizarro. Higuain and Matuidi are both 35 years old, and have shown signs of decline in their physical and technical abilities. They also have high salaries, which may affect Inter Miami’s budget and salary cap. Pizarro is a talented midfielder, but he has not been able to establish a good partnership with Messi or the other attackers. He may look for a new challenge in another league or country.

Some of the players who may join Inter Miami are Julian Draxler, Sergio Aguero, and Weston McKennie. Draxler is a versatile and creative midfielder, who can play in various positions and systems. He is also a free agent, as his contract with PSG will expire at the end of the season. Aguero is a prolific and experienced striker, who has played with Messi in Manchester City and Argentina national team. He may be tempted to reunite with his friend and former teammate in MLS. McKennie is a young and dynamic midfielder, who has impressed with Juventus and USA national team. He may be interested in returning to his home country and playing for Inter Miami.

Inter Miami may also have to improve their infrastructure, academy, scouting network, and fan base for the next season. They may have to build a new stadium that can accommodate more spectators and provide better facilities. They may also have to invest more in developing young talents and finding hidden gems from different regions and markets. They may also have to engage more with their fans and community, and create a strong identity and culture for the club.

What Is the Impact of Messi’s Transfer on MLS and World Soccer?

Messi’s transfer to Inter Miami has had a huge impact on MLS and world soccer in general. Messi’s transfer has brought more attention and exposure to MLS, as he has attracted more viewers, sponsors, and media coverage to the league. Messi’s transfer has also increased the level and quality of MLS, as he has inspired and challenged other players, coaches, and teams to improve their performance and standards.

Messi’s transfer has also influenced other star players to consider moving to MLS, as they have seen the potential and opportunity of playing in America. Messi’s transfer has also opened new markets and audiences for MLS, as he has brought more fans from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa to follow the league.

Messi’s transfer has also had an impact on world soccer, as he has changed the balance of power and prestige among different leagues and clubs. Messi’s transfer has weakened Barcelona and La Liga, as they have lost their best player and icon. Messi’s transfer has also challenged PSG and Manchester City, as they have missed out on signing him. Messi’s transfer has also created new rivalries and narratives for world soccer, as he has faced new opponents and situations.


Messi Inter Miami is one of the most fascinating stories in soccer history, as it involves one of the best players of all time moving to one of the newest clubs in MLS. Messi’s first season in MLS was a failure, as he could not lead Inter Miami to the playoffs or show his best performance. Messi’s future at Inter Miami is uncertain, as he may stay or leave the club.

Messi’s transfer to Inter Miami has had a huge impact on MLS and world soccer in general, as it has brought more attention, exposure, level, quality, influence, market, audience, balance, power.

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