FORT LAUDERDALE – Inter Miami fans are crazy about Messi.
Not in a good way.
Some fans who shelled out thousands of dollars for tickets to Lionel Messi’s expected Inter Miami debut in a League Cup game against Cruz Azul at DRV-PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Friday are upset that the Argentine superstar is not expected to start.
Messi, 36, recently joined Inter Miami and started training last week.
He is still expected to try and play against the Mexican team, with The Athletic reporting that he will likely play the last 30 minutes.
“Messi and (Sergio) Busquets will play on Friday. I’m not sure if they’ll start or not,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said on Wednesday afternoon. “The first thing I want is for them to continue training. Jordi Alba became a father today and so he will come in the next few days.
Everyone at Inter Miami has preached caution in handling their newly signed superstar, arguably the best player in history.
He indicated Messi would be eased, as David Beckham – now part-owner of Inter Miami – did when he made his Los Angeles Galaxy debut in 78.th min 16 years ago friday.
“We don’t know if Leo will play the game or if he will have some minutes because I think ultimately, he needs to be ready,” Beckham told ESPN Argentina.
Apparently this did nothing to calm the angry fans who were swept up in the Messi frenzy and bought tickets at what they feel are exorbitant prices.
Inter Miami is now the most followed American team on social media, surpassing every NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL team since Messi’s arrival.
The average ticket for Friday is more than $250, with many in the thousands, including one ticket listed on the secondary market for a staggering $110,000.
“The moment the ball turns, there is no time to explain,” Martino said in Spanish at Thursday’s press conference. “We understand that we have trained for very few days together. The players have recently arrived here and they have to be fit. So of course, immediate results are expected, and we want it to be like that, because the plans we have will flow better if we combine them with positive results.
When Cruz Azul coach Ricardo Ferretti was asked if his team expected to face Messi, he laughed and said he would be perfectly content if the superstar sat out the whole.
Ferretti said, “If he didn’t play…it would have been better.” “But, they also have to think that why are there so many people here? Because of that, right?”