Inter Miami friendly matches for 2024 preseason: Lionel Messi to play Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, Newell’s Old Boys

With the 2023 MLS season closing earlier than expected for Inter Miami, eliminated from playoff contention, Lionel Messi will have significant time off before the new campaign begins in February 2024.

With every new season come preseason friendlies, as the players hope to ramp up their match fitness prior to the start of the coming campaign. Players need game time to build their bodies to the point where they can play full 90-minute matches, especially when they are contesting multiple games a week.

Inter Miami’s preseason will be watched with extra observation as Messi draws considerable attention wherever he goes, home or abroad. The Argentina star had looked like being part of a tour of China, although that’s no longer the case, while the prospect of facing a familiar side from home is a tantalising one.

The Sporting News has compiled all the known preseason matches either confirmed or reported prior to the start of Inter Miami’s 2024 season.

MORE: Read all the details regarding Inter Miami vs Al Nassr featuring Messi vs Ronaldo

Inter Miami friendly matches for 2024 preseason

Below are all the known fixtures that have either been confirmed by the club directly or widely reported by media. Following the announcement of the FC Dallas friendly, Inter Miami confirmed that it would be their last announced match of the preseason schedule, meaning no more games will be scheduled before the start of the competitive season, barring a last-minute change.

The biggest confirmed match is the meeting between Messi and rival Cristiano Ronaldo as Inter Miami announced a pair of fixtures in Saudi Arabia, including against Ronaldo’s Al Nassr on February 1.

It was anticipated that Inter Miami would embark on a two-match tour of China in November, but that was cancelled, with the trip proving too difficult logistically to arrange. It was replaced by a friendly against fellow MLS side NYCFC to honor Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or.

MORE: When does Inter Miami’s 2024 competitive season begin? Lionel Messi to retake field in February

Confirmed Inter Miami preseason fixtures

Date Kickoff (ET) Match Location
Fri, Nov. 10, 2024 8 p.m. Inter Miami 1-2 New York City FC DRV PNK Stadium
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA)
Fri, Jan. 19, 2024 8 p.m. Inter Miami 0-0 El Salvador Estadio Cuscatlan
(San Salvador, El Salvador)
Mon, Jan. 22, 2024 6 p.m. Inter Miami vs. FC Dallas Cotton Bowl
(Dallas, TX)
Mon, Jan. 29, 2024 1 p.m. Al Hilal vs. Inter Miami Kingdom Arena
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Thu, Feb. 1, 2024 1 p.m. Al Nassr vs. Inter Miami Kingdom Arena
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Sun, Feb. 4, 2024 TBD Hong Kong All Stars vs. Inter Miami Hong Kong Stadium
(Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)
Wed, Feb. 7, 2024 TBD Vissel Kobe vs. Inter Miami Japan National Stadium
(Tokyo, Japan)
Thu, Feb. 15, 2024 TBD Inter Miami vs. Newell’s Old Boys DRV PNK Stadium
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA)

Messi vs Ronaldo set as Inter Miami schedule Al Nassr friendly

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will meet in a club friendly between Inter Miami and Al Nassr in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday, February 1 with kickoff at 1 p.m. ET (9 p.m. local time in Saudi Arabia).

The match comes as the second of a double-header for Inter Miami in Saudi Arabia as part of the annual Riyadh Season Cup showcase. Three days prior, Inter Miami will also meet fellow Saudi club Al Hilal.

Messi and Ronaldo have squared off 35 times across their careers, with Messi winning 16 times to Ronaldo’s 10, plus nine draws. Messi claimed the most recent face-off as PSG won their friendly matchup 5-4 in Riyadh last time around.

MORE: A full rundown of how each game in the Messi vs Ronaldo matchup has played out

Inter Miami to play FC Dallas at Cotton Bowl

In late November, it was reported that Inter Miami have arranged to contest a friendly against Argentine giants River Plate in Dallas, Texas in late January.

However, that never came to fruition, and instead, Inter Miami will take on FC Dallas at the Cotton Bowl on January 22, just three days after their friendly in El Salvador, making for an increasingly busy preseason as they will travel all over the country and globe.

With the match announced on January 6, Inter Miami confirmed that it will round out their pre-season fixture list, meaning no more games will be added.

“We’re excited to have secured the final match of what will be a historic preseason for Inter Miami and MLS,” said Chief Business Officer Xavier Asensi in the team’s official announcement of the fixture. “We’re proud to embark on this journey that no other team in league history has experienced, and look forward to captivating our worldwide fan base with our 2024 preseason tour. We’re thrilled to continue putting ourselves in positions to make history.”

Inter Miami visit Hong Kong in February tour of Asia

The club announced in early December that Inter Miami would take a tour of Asia in early February as part of their 2024 preseason slate.

The trip will see Inter Miami play a collection of top players from the Hong Kong First Division. The match will be played on February 4 at Hong Kong Stadium, which seats approximately 40,000 fans, while the club will hold an open training session the day prior. Tickets go on sale December 15 on ticket exchange site Klook.

While the match is the only one in Asia confirmed as of yet, Inter Miami’s reference of the trip as a “tour of Asia” suggests more matches could be announced in due time. It’s notable that Inter Miami will indeed travel to Asia after their attempts to play matches in China back in November fell through.

“We’re very excited to be visiting Hong Kong and indeed Asia for the very first time,” explained Jorge Mas, Inter Miami CF Managing Owner. “From the very beginning we set out to be a global club at Inter Miami. This is a wonderful opportunity to do just that; we hope to enthuse and inspire new Inter Miami fans in Hong Kong and across Asia who share our passion for fútbol.”

“Hong Kong is a beautiful city with a great sports scene,” added Inter Miami CF Co-Owner, David Beckham. “Throughout my career, I have spent a lot of time in Asia – I am so pleased to have the opportunity to bring Inter Miami to play our first international tour match in this fantastic city.”

Vissel Kobe to face Inter Miami in Tokyo

Following the match with Hong Kong, Inter Miami will head to Tokyo to take on J1 League champions Vissel Kobe.

The game will take place at the Japan National Stadium and feature a very special guest: Andres Iniesta.

Spain’s World Cup-winning midfielder spent five years with Vissel Kobe after spending his entire club career until that point with Barcelona, where he played alongside Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba during an era of astonishing success in Catalonia.

“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. 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,” said Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson.

Boyhood Messi club to face Inter Miami in USA

After their Asia trip, Inter Miami will host a friendly at DRV PNK Stadium against Newell’s Old Boys.

The team from Argentina hold a special place in the heart of Messi and Martino. Not only are both men from the city of Rosario, where Newell’s are based, but Messi developed at the club’s youth academy and Martino played more than 400 senior games for the club before becoming head coach in 2012.

“I am delighted to welcome my beloved Newell’s to our home here in Miami. It will be a special match due to everything Newell’s Old Boys means to me,” said the Inter Miami coach. “It will also be a good opportunity to prepare for what will surely be an exciting season.”

Messi signed for Barcelona after spending six years as a youth player at Newell’s, during which time he reportedly scored 234 goals.

Inter Miami play to 0-0 draw with El Salvador to begin preseason

Inter Miami’s first confirmed friendly of the 2024 preseason saw the club travel to San Sebastian to take on the El Salvador national team on January 19, as they contested a 0-0 draw.

Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and new signing Luis Suarez all started the match and played the first 45 minutes before being withdrawn at halftime.

The match did not fall under an official FIFA international window, meaning the hosts did not feature their full contingent of regular international players from Europe or other leagues currently in season.

MORE: All the details regarding Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami contract and salary

Inter Miami play NYCFC in Noche d’Or to replace China trip

With the club’s elimination from 2023 MLS playoff contention, Lionel Messi is facing nearly a full month off from competitive fixtures before he takes the field for Argentina against Uruguay and Brazil in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.

Likely with the sole intent of keeping Messi fit in that time off, and the added bonus of raking in significant cash, Inter Miami scheduled a two-match tour of China in early November after their regular season concluded.

They were expected to visit two Chinese Super League sides, starting with a match against Qingdao Hainiu on November 5, followed by a game against Chengdu Rongcheng three days later However, it was reported on October 30 the planned tour was off. Gaston Edu of TyC Sports reported the visit had been cancelled due to “commercial and bureaucratic” reasons.

Inter Miami no va a viajar a China. La gira que incluía dos amistosos se cae por temas burocráticos/comerciales. pic.twitter.com/8I0jBxg4Zz

— Gastón Edul (@gastonedul) October 30, 2023

Instead, Inter Miami met NYCFC in a hastily arranged friendly at DRV PNK Stadium on November 10 to honor Lionel Messi’s most recent Ballon d’Or. The friendly is being dubbed the “Noche d’Or” or “Night of Gold” as a nod to his latest achievement.

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