Lionel Messi gets Newell's reunion in Miami preseason finale

Messi v Newell's - recap - 2.15.24

Lionel Messi had an emotional reunion with boyhood club Newell's Old Boys while current club Inter Miami CF played to a 1-1 draw Thursday night in their final preseason test.

Six days before hosting Real Salt Lake in the 2024 MLS regular-season opener (8 pm ET | MLS Season Pass), Miami took the lead on homegrown Shanyder Borgelin's 64th-minute header. However, the visitors leveled through Franco Díaz seven minutes from time.

Messi, the Newell's academy phenom who joined the club at six years old before making his transformative move to FC Barcelona in 2000, was undoubtedly the man of the night at DRV PNK Stadium.

Despite his sentimental bond with La Lepra, the legendary No. 10 attempted numerous times to score against his beloved childhood club – most notably a bending free kick that went dangerously past goalkeeper Lucas Hoyos' right post in the first half.

Messi was subbed off in the 60th minute, possibly with Miami's upcoming Feb. 21 clash vs. RSL in mind.



  • MIA: Drake Callender - Jordi Alba, Nicolás Freire, Tomás Avilés, DeAndre Yedlin - Julian Gressel, Yannick Bright, David Ruíz - Diego Gómez, Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: After seven preseason games, there are no more dress rehearsals for Inter Miami. Thursday's performance against an Argentine top-fight side in midseason form was overall positive – save for one miscue that led to Newell's late equalizer.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: See above. Sloppy distribution in the back allowed Díaz to pounce and beat Drake Callender from close range. More importantly, it deprived Miami from ending their preseason on a winning note.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: The Messi sentimental factor was strong, but Shanyder Borgelin made the most of his moment in the spotlight with a solid header.

Next Up

  • MIA: Feb. 21 vs. Real Salt Lake | 8 pm ET (MLS Season Pass)
  • NOB: Feb. 19 vs. Estudiantes | 5:15 pm ET