That didn’t take long.
Lionel Messi will serve as Inter Miami CF’s captain moving forward, head coach Tata Martino confirmed in his matchday-1 press conference as the club prepares for a Leagues Cup showdown Tuesday night against Atlanta United (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).
The Argentine superstar, when making his debut Friday vs. Cruz Azul as a 54th-minute substitute, was given the armband by US international defender DeAndre Yedlin. Brazilian midfielder Gregore previously had captain’s duties for the Herons, but has been out with a foot injury since mid-March.
Martino also said Messi and fellow newcomer Sergio Busquets could see more minutes at DRV PNK Stadium, noting “everything will depend on how they feel.” The FC Barcelona legends joined the team last weekend following the 2022-23 European season, and now may start vs. Atlanta in just their second MLS match.
Messi will be looking to build off an iconic debut for Inter Miami, scoring a trademark free kick in the 94th minute to seal a 2-1 win over their Liga MX opponent. After that Hollywood-esque finish, Inter Miami will secure a Leagues Cup Round of 32 spot with just a point against Atlanta.
Messi, seven months removed from winning the FIFA World Cup with Argentina, is under contract through the 2025 MLS season. He's also pursuing a world-record eighth Ballon d'Or award later this year.