Monday, May 27, 2024

Will Messi play at Chiefs’ stadium? Here’s what we know before Inter Miami vs. Sporting KC

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It’s not often Patrick Mahomes isn’t the biggest star gracing GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.­

Soccer great Lionel Messi will eclipse Mahomes on Saturday night.

Messi’s Inter Miami will face Sporting Kansas City at the home of the four-time Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. More than 70,000 fans are expected to attend for a glimpse of Messi, the 2022 World Cup champion regarded as the greatest to play his sport.

“You don’t see the things that he does – either never or not very often, that’s for sure,” longtime Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said Thursday before the game.

Added Sporting KC defender Andreu Fontàs, who has played with and against Messi in La Liga: “It is better for sure to be his teammate than his rival. Will be special to play against him again. We’ll try to do our best to not let him have his game because we know that he needs very few chances to punish you.”

But how much will Messi play in Kansas City?

The match begins at 8:30 p.m. ET, and broadcast via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

WATCH: Messi and Inter Miami vs. Sporting KC on Apple TV

TICKETS: See Messi and Inter Miami in person vs. Sporting KC

SHOP: Get the latest Messi and Inter Miami gear from the MLS Store

Inter Miami assistant coach Javi Morales said Friday that Messi will be available to play against Sporting KC. But it’s important to note: Messi could be limited in action. 

“[Messi] will be present. We will see how long he will play because he played in 90 minutes the previous game. But he is available,”Morales said during a Zoom press conference. “He finished the game without any discomfort, without any problem. Depending on how he feels will be the minutes he will have on the field, but I think he will want to play.”

Messi is coming off his first start in nearly a month and a 90-minute performance Wednesday in Mexico. Inter Miami was eliminated from the Concacaf Champions Cup, following a 3-1 loss and 5-2 aggregate score, to LIGA MX powerhouse Monterrey.

Messi appears fully healthy after a right hamstring injury kept him out of action from March 13 until his return last Saturday against Colorado.

“Apparently the injury is behind [him], that’s the most important thing,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said of Messi’s health before the Monterrey game.

Inter Miami has 10 matches remaining until Copa America 2024, during which Messi is expected to captain Argentina perhaps for the final time in a major international tournament during his illustrious career.

So, Messi could be limited to maintain his health considering his Copa America commitments in June.

Messi and Mahomes could meet at Inter Miami, Sporting KC game

Messi and Mahomes are two of the greatest players in the history of their sports, and two of the best athletes playing in the United States. They could be in for a historic meeting together on Saturday night.

A Chiefs spokesman told USA TODAY Sports if Patrick Mahomes is in town, he will be there.

Messi is an eight-time Ballon d’Or winner as the sport’s best player, and captivated soccer fans worldwide by leading Argentina to the World Cup in Qatar in December 2022 after capping a standout career with Barcelona.

Messi has also taken an interest in the NFL since joining Inter Miami last summer.

Mahomes is the reigning, three-time Super Bowl MVP and star quarterback for the Chiefs. He’s the best and most entertaining quarterback in the NFL without argument, and chasing Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowl rings.

Mahomes is one of six principal owners of Sporting KC, and has already posted about Messi’s arrival on expired Instagram stories earlier this week.

Mahomes was also tuned in for Messi’s Inter Miami debut, which saw Messi score the game-winning goal in the final minute.

The Kansas City Star says Messi’s arrival will be one of the great sporting moments in the city’s history.

Sporting KC made the wise decision to host the match at Arrowhead Stadium, which houses more than 70,000 fans, compared to the club’s Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, which seats 21,500 fans.

It will be Sporting KC’s first game at Arrowhead since the club hosted English Premier League club Manchester United on July 25, 2010 in front of 52,342 fans, according to the KC Star.

“I’ve watched the guy play since he’s been very young. I don’t anybody, any team, any coach that has devised a game plan that’s nullified his unbelievable and unique qualities,” Vermes said of Messi. “You hope that on the day, he has a bad day. You hope if he gets a chance, he misses. That’s what you do.”

What is Inter Miami’s upcoming schedule?

Here are the next five Inter Miami matches after the Kansas City match:

April 20: Inter Miami vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m. ET 

April 27: Inter Miami at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET

May 4: Inter Miami vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET

May 11: Inter Miami at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET

May 15: Inter Miami at Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET

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