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When will Lionel Messi make Inter Miami debut?

Here’s a timeline for the legend to officially appear for his new club.

Paris Saint-Germain V Clermont, French Ligue 1 regular season.
Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain during the Paris Saint-Germain V Clermont, French Ligue 1 regular season match at Parc des Princes on June 3, 2023, in Paris, France.
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

June 20 update: According to Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas, the club is targeting a Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul on July 21 for Messi’s debut. Of course, this won’t be his MLS debut with Inter Miami but it would mean Messi would be able to ingratiate himself with the team ahead of the MLS season resuming on August 20.

Major League Soccer is set to add arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport, with Lionel Messi reportedly agreeing to join Inter Miami as his next club. Messi is out after two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain and while he longs to return to Barcelona, a move to MLS is on the cards first.

Unfortunately for soccer fans, this doesn’t mean Messi will suit up in Inter Miami’s next game. We’re going to have to wait for a little bit to see the Argentina star on the pitch.

According to MLS rules, clubs can add players during two transfer windows. The primary window is mostly during the MLS offseason and takes place from February 10 to May 4. That’s already done. This means Inter Miami can only add Messi during the second window, which opens July 7.

It’s unlikely the club will unveil Messi in a road game for his MLS debut, so that’s going to present a bit more of a wait. Inter Miami have road games on July 8 and July 15 before what looks to be an international break, so that means Messi would have to wait until August 20 when Inter Miami hosts Charlotte to officially take the field.

Of course, it’s possible MLS makes an exception for Messi and Inter Miami and lets him play prior to July 7. Inter Miami could’ve also made contact with Messi prior to the May 4 deadline, although that seems unlikely with the Ligue 1 season still going on. We’ll see how it all plays out, but it looks like Messi won’t be making his MLS debut for a while.