Messi’s Inter Miami and Newell’s Old Boys Draw 1-1 in Friendly

Lionel Messi returned to the starting lineup for Inter Miami in a 1-1 home tie against his Argentine boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys.

It was an emotional encounter for the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, who grew up supporting Old Boys and played for them from 1995 to 2000 before moving to Barcelona.

Messi was replaced in the 60th minute by 22-year-old American Lawson Sunderland, although he impressed home supporters before of the start of the 2024 MLS season, as well as Inter coach Gerardo Martino, with his performance.

“I spoke to him after the game and he was fine. We had talked about playing between 45 and 60 minutes,” the Argentine coach said.

The 36-year-old striker, who sparked Argentina to the 2022 World Cup title, returned to Miami’s starting 11 after fighting through a groin injury that caused him to sit out a friendly in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Messi came off the bench in a later Inter Miami match in Japan but was back among the starters for the MLS club’s final pre-season match and in healthy form.

“I see Messi fully recovered,” said Martino. “We take him little by little because the idea is that he arrives well prepared for the (MLS season). From what I saw today on the field and the way he accelerated and arrived at the area, I really saw that.”

After a scoreless first half, Inter Miami grabbed a 1-0 lead on Shanyder Borgelin’s goal in the 64th minute.

The 22-year-old Haitian forward leaped high over a defender to nod home a perfect corner kick from Finnish midfielder Robert Taylor.

Newell’s equalized on Argentine midfielder Franco Martin Diaz’s goal in the 83rd minute, a blast into the bottom right corner from the heart of the box.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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