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MLS

Inter Miami and Messi confirm cancellation of China mini tour for November: here’s why

After confusion regarding stadium changes and ticket misinformation, the MLS franchise have officially cancelled their post-season tour of China.

After confusion regarding stadium changes and ticket misinformation, the MLS franchise have officially cancelled their post-season tour of China.
Sam NavarroUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Following their elimination from the 2023 Major League Soccer Playoffs, Inter Miami announced a brief tour of China, where they were scheduled to engage in two friendly matches against local teams.

However, Lionel Messi’s Herons are have faced a setback in this regard: the expedition has officially been cancelled, and the Fort Lauderdale-based team will now remain in the United States.

More MLS:

Miami officially confirm China tour cancelled

A short statement on the club website read: “The tour promoter, NSN, has informed Inter Miami CF of the cancellation of its China Tour due to unforeseen circumstances in China. Inter Miami’s ambition remains to expand its global reach by playing in front of incredible fans from across the globe; the Club will continue to explore future opportunities with NSN to achieve this goal.”

Clearly, the statement, with mentions of NSN informing the club and “unforeseen circumstances in China”, this points to the decision being out of Inter Miami’s hands. However, given the chaos with the ticketing and late change of venue, it remains a mystery as to why Inter Miami had to wait so long before giving us the news.

Messi featured against Australia in Argentina's post-World Cup 2022 tour of China.
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Messi featured against Australia in Argentina's post-World Cup 2022 tour of China.MARK CRISTINOEFE

China not in Messi’s hands

As previously reported by Argentine journalist Gastón Edul, Inter will not be embarking on their journey to Asia due to ‘bureaucratic and commercial issues,’ which compels them to remain in training at the Florida Blue Training Center until mid-November. This development could prove advantageous for Messi and his teammates, as some of them need to travel to their respective countries for the upcoming FIFA international break, and now they will have the opportunity to rest without the expected hustle and bustle.

Furthermore, information from the reporter who is closely associated with the Argentine national team could assure the world champion squad that their captain will be in peak condition for the forthcoming Conmebol World Cup 2026 Qualifiers, where they are set to face Uruguay and Brazil in the two matches that will mark the ‘Number 10′s’ return after clinching his eighth Ballon d’Or.

Although recent days saw statements from the organizers in collaboration with a Chinese newspaper regarding the suboptimal planning of these two matches, the confirmation of the cancellation suggests that this was not the right time for the South Florida team to travel in an attempt to expand their brand as a sports franchise.

Historic day for Inter Miami and Messi

While staying home poses an organizational setback for Inter Miami, the media impact of Messi winning his eighth Ballon d’Or while being a part of their team is unparalleled for Major League Soccer. He has become the first active player in the North American league to receive this distinction.