Messi’s Inter Miami heading to China for first international tour

Featured image credit: IDontHaveSkype/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED/Edited for size

Featured image credit: IDontHaveSkype/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED/Edited for size

Buoyed by the impact of recent signing Lionel Messi, Major League Soccer (MLS) team Inter Miami has announced plans for its first international tour, with two friendly matches scheduled next month in China.

Inter Miami will face Chinese Super League team Qingdao Hainiu FC on November 5 at the Qingdao Youth Football Stadium. The club will then play Chengdu Rongcheng on November 8 at the Phoenix Hill Sports Park (pictured).

The club, which is co-owned by David Beckham, said the matches will tie in with plans to expand its global reach. The profile of the club has increased considerably since seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi joined in July.

The Argentina captain has scored 11 goals in 13 games for the club and his arrival in MLS has seen ticket prices for Inter Miami matches skyrocket.

Sellout crowds can also be expected for next month’s matches in China. Qingdao Youth Football Stadium has a capacity of 50,000, while Phoenix Hill Sports Park seats over 60,000 fans.

Xavier Asensi, chief business officer at Inter Miami, said: “We’re very excited to continue to expand our club’s global reach, bringing our team to play in front of incredible fans across the globe. This is a special opportunity to share the passion as we reach new audiences and put ourselves on display in new places, and we’re looking forward to beginning this adventure.”

In August, Inter Miami announced that construction had finally commenced on Miami Freedom Park, a new wide-ranging entertainment district that will be anchored by a 25,000-seat stadium.

Miami Freedom Park, which will span 131 acres, will also include a 58-acre public park and is slated to open in 2025.

Inter Miami was formed in January 2018 and debuted in MLS in 2020. The club currently plays at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.