Lionel Messi continues to pay off big for Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup, scoring nine goals in his first six games and leading the club to the final — and in the process, opening doors that were locked shut before his arrival by the team’s league-worst MLS record.
Beyond the potential $2 million prize for winning the Leagues Cup — a new competition featuring MLS and Liga MX squads — Inter Miami’s performance has already secured the club a slot in next year’s Concacaf Champions Cup. That competition will provide a crucial opportunity to qualify for the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup — which is expanding to 32 teams and will be held in the U.S.
Inter Miami wouldn’t have been able to make next year’s Champions Cup — which offers a $5 million prize pool of its own — via MLS play, but now could automatically reach the Round of 16 with a Leagues Cup victory, while a second-place finish earns a slot in the opening round.
The winner of next year’s Champions Cup will earn one of the remaining two slots for Concacaf teams in the 2025 Club World Cup, where Messi — in Inter Miami gear — could compete against his former European foes on American soil.
Hottest Ticket In Town
Inter Miami vies for the Leagues Cup title at Nashville SC on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on Apple TV. Get-in ticket prices for the match at the 30,000-seat Geodis Park are already nearing $500 in some secondary markets.
On Tuesday, Messi helped attract a record crowd for a soccer match of 19,778 at Philadelphia’s Subaru Park as Inter Miami beat the Union 4-1 in the Leagues Cup semifinals.