Messi enjoyed a perfect debut in Florida as the Argentine superstar came off the bench to fire home a superb free-kick after injury time to seal a 2-1 win over Liga MX side Cruz Azul.
Inter Miami now prepare for their second match of the group stage and the focus is once again on Messi and how Tata Martin’s tactical plan for his former Barcelona talisman will shape up.
A cameo role against Cruz Azul will sharpen Messi’s game and it seems likely that he could be handed a starting role against Atlanta.
Is Lionel Messi playing for Inter Miami vs Atlanta United?
Inter Miami fans were forced to be patient over Messi’s arrival at the club with his arrival announced on July 15 followed by a formal presentation two days later.
Club owner Jorge Mas previously stated Messi would be ready to make his debut against Cruz Azul on July 21 and all sides kept to the schedule for Messi’s big night in Florida.
Despite not starting a game since PSG’s final match of the 2022/23 Ligue 1 season, on June 3, Inter Miami are looking to get Messi sharp again and get him back into top shape.
Messi’s extended summer break was only increased by final contract negotiations, and he would be in preseason now, if he remained in Paris.
Martino has hinted he will start Messi in this game, alongside a first start for Sergio Busquets – but both players will be assessed beforehand.