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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Messi Momentum Halted With Inter Miami’s China Tour Canceled

  • Inter Miami was scheduled to play two games in China this month.
  • The tour's promoter cited unforeseen circumstances in China for cancelling.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Inter Miami has hit a roadblock in their efforts to sustain the incredible boost Lionel Messi provided this year.

The MLS team’s two-game tour of China was canceled just four days before the first match was to be played against Chinese Super League club Qingdao Hainiu. The tour’s promoter, NSN, cited the recent death of former Chinese premier Li Keqiang as the reason for the cancellation.

Last week saw unconfirmed reports of a venue change for one of the two matches, and then the cancellation of the second game. It’s unclear if those reported issues are in part to blame for the tour’s demise.

After not making the MLS Cup playoffs, Inter Miami’s plan to take the league’s newest and biggest superstar to China was initially met with great fanfare and seen as a win for MLS in its efforts to expand globally.

The club indicated it still wants to play in front of international fans and would continue working toward that goal with NSN — which works with major soccer brands and talents and has seven offices across four continents.

Missing Out On Messi

Since Inter Miami didn’t qualify for the postseason, the China tour represented another opportunity for MLS to showcase Messi in his new team and league to fans around the world. Now, the club and league will likely have to wait until 2024 to further capitalize on the Argentinian legend.

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