Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets are expected to debut for Inter Miami against Cruz Azul as part of the opening day of Leagues Cup on Friday. While the team recently confirmed that the two are expected to log their first minutes in Inter Miami pink, reports surfacing from the stadium indicate that the two former Barcelona players will not be in the starting lineup for Tata Martino as they get acclimated to their new team and regain regular-season form. Jordi Alba, who was recently introduced as an Inter Miami player, is on the Leagues Cup roster, but it remains to be seen if he gets his first taste of soccer in North America on Friday.
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As far as Messi goes, after winning the World Cup with Argentina, he has essentially been playing soccer nonstop since July of 2022 when PSG played in the Trophee des Championes against Nantes. For protecting his legs, he'd need at least a month of rest and to be eased back into playing, and this match on Friday lines up perfectly.
Here's what to know about Messi's arrival:
First day of training
Tuesday was a sight to behold as Messi and Busquets were involved in Inter Miami training for the first time. Getting to reunite with Martino and Busquets on the pitch, excitement was in the air of what's to come with the Herons. Even a news helicopter was overhead to capture shots of the affair as Messi's stature is unlike any that the league has ever seen before.
Settling into Miami
With Messi now in Miami, he's beginning to settle into "normal" life. Already spotted buying groceries at Publix, Messi is settling into the Florida man lifestyle by doing things that weren't possible when he was in Europe. Surrounded by fans everywhere that he goes, it's hard for Messi to even breathe without someone noticing. He may have caught everyone off guard by his visit this first time but it it'll cause people to be more alert looking for Messi in places that they'd least expect it moving forward.
Messi has also been spotted signing autographs and left the Miami training facility with a police escort. Mas mentioned that security was going to be beefed up and this is one of the outcomes of that. But Messi also ran a red light while leaving the facility almost getting into an accident. Someone was coming into the street to take a picture of the car at the time that everyone sped up to avoid confrontation but these will be moments to watch as everyone looks to catch a glimpse of Messi in Miami.