How Messi Could Face CPL Teams Next Year
It’s official: Lionel Messi is headed to Miami.
The World Cup winner – regarded as the greatest footballer of all time and a genuine household name even in non-sporting households – was made official by the Major League Soccer club earlier this afternoon.
It’s a move that could potentially see him cross paths with Canadian Premier League clubs next year, too.
The unlikely match is made possible by the new expanded Concacaf Champions Cup format that will come in 2024. The rebranded continental tournament will feature two Canadian Premier League clubs vying for the larger cash pool next year, with five Major League Soccer teams set to qualify through league play.
One of those five could wind up being Messi’s new club.
While Miami currently rests bottom of the east and would need a dramatic rise up the rankings to earn a berth by way of winning the MLS Cup or the Supporters Shield (or even by being one of the next two teams behind that), the club could also secure passage if it manages to win the US Open Cup – for which is has a quarter-final away trip against the Birmingham Legion tonight.
Miami could also qualify for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup by way of this year’s Leagues Cup, where the club is grouped with Cruz Azul and Atlanta United in the opening group stage.
In the event any of above take place, there’d also need to be a bit of luck for Inter Miami CF to get seeded against a Canadian Premier League team.
That’s some big ‘ifs’ for the struggling Miami side that Vancouver FC forward Shaan Hundal was called up to last year – but who could better inspire a drastic rise than the man who helped Barcelona to 35 titles before his move to France?
Messi’s exit from Paris-Saint Germain has captured worldwide attention, with the World Cup winner being linked to a one-billion-plus dollar move to Saudi Arabia and thoughts of an emotional return to Barcelona.
Instead, David Beckham’s Inter Miami has lured in the all-time great for a deal that is rumored to include profits related to both Apple TV and Adidas.
Whatever the cost it is to bring him, he will be a spectacle for North Americans who have worshiped the 35-year-old Argentinian international from afar.
Whether the fast-footed magician will take in a cold night at Tim Hortons Field or the west coast winds at Starlight Stadium next February remains to be seen, but it’s wild that such a thing is even a possibility.