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Messi Champions MLS Growth Before Leagues Cup Final

  • Messi believes MLS can be just as competitive as top leagues in Europe.
  • The superstar confirmed that pitches with artificial turf won't stop him from playing.
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Messi keeps delivering for MLS fans and financial stakeholders.

Inter Miami faces Nashville SC in the Leagues Cup final on Saturday — and seats at the 30,000-seat Geodis Park are selling for as high as $8,000 on secondary markets. The game starts at 9 p.m. ET and will be streamed on Apple TV.

In his first Inter Miami press conference on Thursday, Messi gave the surprising revelation that he’ll play in matches even if there isn’t a natural grass surface — something many had expected him not to do.

“The truth is my youth was spent on artificial turf,” Messi explained. “My whole life was on that pitch. Truth is, it’s been a while since I’ve played on artificial turf, but I have no problem adapting myself again.”

That’s good news for fans in Atlanta and Charlotte — the two MLS cities on Inter Miami’s remaining road schedule with artificial playing surfaces. Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Bank of America Stadium could see around 70,000 fans each at full capacity. Four other MLS venues have artificial turf.

MLS Can Get Bigger

Messi also showed bullish support for MLS, saying it “has every opportunity” to be as competitive as European leagues. 

“It’s an ideal moment to grow,” he said. “There are important competitions upcoming that will be played in this country.” The U.S. will host the 2024 Copa America, 2025 FIFA Club World Cup, and the 2026 World Cup — all of which could feature Messi playing for Argentina or Inter Miami.

Messi thinks that “it’s time for the league to make that leap and finish growing. Everything is in place here to witness top-level football.”

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