When does Lionel Messi’s 2024 season with Inter Miami begin?

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In his first season at Inter Miami, Lionel Messi will enjoy something he’s not used to: an extended break.

Well… maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word. After a 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati on Oct. 7, Inter Miami officially failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs, meaning its final two games of the 2023 season will be nothing more than a formality.

This means that Messi will be significantly rested for the next few months, potentially only playing for Argentina’s national team during that time.

When will Inter Miami start the 2024 season?

The schedule for the 2024 MLS season has not yet been released, but will likely begin either in late February. In comparison, the 2023 season began on February 25, and the 2024 season is expected to begin on that date as well.

Major League Soccer was widely expected to vote this offseason to change the schedule and suspend league play during FIFA international breaks starting in 2024, which would mean the league would have to find other times to play those games. Therefore, the possibility of extending the season earlier and later was considered, but there was no word on this.

However, we have the latest that Inter Miami could start their season. The club will participate in the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2024, earning a bye to the Round of 16 thanks to the League Cup title.

Inter Miami played their first CONCACAF Champions Cup game on March 7, 2024, meaning that if the MLS season starts after that date (unlikely), it will be the club’s first competitive game of the campaign.

Will Lionel Messi play during the MLS offseason?

It is of course possible that Lionel Messi will find another club to secure a short-term loan to bridge the gap, but it seems much more likely that Messi, now 36, will take a long rest.

However, Messi will likely need to stay fit to play for Argentina’s national team in the coming weeks and months.

Messi has been called up by Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni for their October World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru and is virtually certain to be included in the November international break, which includes a massive tilt with arch-rivals Brazil.

After those two matches, Argentina currently have no matches scheduled until the end of 2024, when CONMEBOL resumes its qualification schedule, although the 2024 Copa America is looming this coming summer.

Still, Messi will have plenty of time to rest and recover from November to February to ensure he is ready to play when the 2024 season begins.

Inter Miami currently have just one friendly scheduled, against New York City FC on November 10, alongside a likely friendly against Messi’s boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in February 2024.

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