Luis Suárez makes debut for Inter Miami: "I’m so happy"


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It was like old times again for Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi Wednesday night at Chase Stadium, as both FC Barcelona legends rekindled their iconic partnership with fantastic results.

Only now it was for Inter Miami CF, who got their eagerly-anticipated 2024 MLS season off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in Suárez’s debut with the Herons.

Signed during the offseason as the final piece to complete Miami’s Big Four along with fellow Barça alums Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, the superstar striker contributed an assist in his maiden MLS appearance, linking with Messi before providing the final pass for Diego Gómez’s 83rd-minute decider that sealed the W for the hosts.

"I’m so happy because it was the first game and winning at home is really important," Suárez told MLS Season Pass' Tony Cherchi of his first official match together with his old buddies. "We’re still friends inside the pitch and outside the pitch. We try our best to help the team."

Suárez’s efforts almost led to a first MLS goal for the Uruguayan, who’s coming off an award-winning season with Brazilian Série A side Gremio. But more than individual recognition, El Pistolero is concerned with the collective in Miami.

"There’s no bigger ambition and desire than coming to a team that just won its first title last year [Leagues Cup] and trying to win MLS Cup," Suárez said. "It’s a title the club hasn’t won yet. That’s the goal, that’s the challenge for me and the whole team."

One game in at least, Suárez and Messi are already showing a glimpse of the chemistry that made them one of world soccer’s all-time greatest attacking duos. But according to head coach Gerardo Martino, more time is needed for both to reach peak form.

"We had several training sessions before the friendly against Newell’s [Old Boys] and the beginning of the league. Sometimes you honestly need that," Tata explained.

"Every training session helps players get to know each other better. They know each other, a lot, but they have to rediscover that partnership that worked at Barcelona."

Like the famous Barça sides of the early-to-mid 2010s, Miami have sky-high expectations, as well as a target on their backs – given their status as an odds-on favorite to contend for numerous trophies. Suárez, for one, felt that from the opening whistle against RSL, who gave the Herons all they could handle during 90 tough minutes.

"It’s a case of all the team wanting to beat you, they want to compete with you," Suárez stated. "Why? First of all, because we’re a team that can fight for the title.

"They know it’s what we want. They know how ambitious we are."