Inter Miami add Tokyo stop to Messi tour next February

AFP , Friday 15 Dec 2023

Lionel Messi's world tour with Inter Miami next year added Tokyo as a stop on Friday, with the Major League Soccer club announcing plans to face Japan League champion Vissel Kobe.

FILE - Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi waves to the crowd during the second half of an MLS football match against Los Angeles FC, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023, in Los Angeles. Photo: AP


The Argentine superstar will lead Inter Miami into the match at 60,000-seat Japan National Stadium on February 7 as part of an MLS pre-season tour that also features matches in Hong Kong and Riyadh.

"Tokyo is an inspiring destination with a fervent football community that we're looking forward to getting acquainted with," Inter Miami chief business officer Xavier Asensi said.

"We're thrilled to visit Japan as one of our stops as we continue to bring joy to our global fan base."

Vissel Kobe is the former club of iconic Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta, who will attend the match and reunite with long-time Barcelona teammates Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba of Inter Miami.

The players won a UEFA Champions League crown and four La Liga titles while together for the Spanish giants while Iniesta won the World Cup with Busquets, and the European Championship with both Busquets and Alba for Spain.

"Vissel Kobe is a powerhouse club in Asia coming off of a historic season after winning the J1 League, so we're thrilled about this opportunity to sharpen our team in a match like this one," Inter Miami sporting director Chris Henderson said.

"We continue to look for the best ways to prepare for 2024 and feel confident this match and this tour will help us do that."

Inter Miami will launch its 2024 journey with a match at El Salvador on January 19, then travel to Saudi Arabia for matches on January 29 against Al-Hilal and February 1 against Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr before playing in Hong Kong on February 4.

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