Inter Miami adds Tokyo stop to international tour

Japan National Stadium in Tokyo

Featured image credit: 江戸村のとくぞう/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Inter Miami has further expanded what it claims will be a first-of-its-kind international tour by a Major League Soccer (MLS) side, announcing it will take on reigning Japanese J1 League champion Vissel Kobe in Tokyo.

Although Vissel usually plays its home games at Noevir Stadium Kobe, the match against Inter Miami on February 7 will be held at Japan National Stadium in the capital, which has over double the capacity by catering to close to 69,000 fans for football games.

Vissel is the former club of Andrés Iniesta. The Spanish midfielder will be present at the event, where he will be reunited with his former FC Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, who now all play for Inter Miami.

Inter Miami’s chief business officer, Xavier Asensi, said: “Tokyo is an inspiring destination with a fervent fútbol community that we’re looking forward to getting acquainted with. We’re thrilled to visit Japan as one of our stops as we continue to bring joy to our global fanbase.

“Our aspiration remains to make our fans’ dreams come true, and we believe this match will be a fantastic occasion for them to look forward to, and a wonderful moment for our players.”

Inter Miami announced last month that it will take on the El Salvador national team at the Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador on January 19 for the club’s first preseason match of 2024.  

The club last week confirmed that it will head to Saudi Arabia next year for two pre-season friendlies, including one against Al Nassr that will pit Messi against Cristiano Ronaldo as part of the Riyadh Season Cup.

Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena will host matches against Al-Hilal on January 29 and Ronaldo’s Al Nassr on February 1. Al-Hilal’s squad also features Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Neymar, although he is currently injured.

The club earlier confirmed that it would travel to Hong Kong for a pre-season friendly against an all-star squad from the domestic First Division League on February 4. This came after a planned tour of China was cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances” in the country.