Lionel Messi makes 2024 goals clear: Inter Miami is chasing MLS Cup

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Lionel Messi is aware of the pressure on Inter Miami in 2024.

He believes Inter Miami has a team capable of winning not just the tournaments it will play this season; Messi says Inter Miami is chasing a championship in MLS as well.

It will be an arduous challenge with Messi committed to playing with Argentina during this summer’s Copa America 2024.

But Messi and Inter Miami are off to a fast start. He scored twice, Luis Suárez added two goals, and Inter Miami cruised past Orlando City with a 5-0 victory on Saturday night to improve to 2-1-0 (win-draw-loss) on the season.

“I think that with the pressure on us, we’re conscious of the team, and what we’ve built and we are going to prepare ourselves to fight for the MLS title,” Messi said during a postgame interview with Apple TV.

“We know that is a long road and it's just getting started, but the reality is that all of us are aware that we have a group ready to compete and we are going to go for it. It is also important that we start the season off well, especially in the first few games because then the league will pause, and other tournaments will begin.”

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami are on top of the MLS standings early in the 2024 season.
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami are on top of the MLS standings early in the 2024 season.

Inter Miami’s next game is Thursday against Nashville SC in the first of two legs in the CONCACAF Champions Cup round of 16. Messi and Inter Miami beat Nashville to win the Leagues Cup title last August.

Messi’s workload will be considerably high with five Inter Miami matches and two matches with the Argentine national team in the next three weeks. But Inter Miami has put itself in a good spot early, sitting on top of the MLS standings after earning seven of nine possible points from its three matches.

“It’s really good to arrive with a little breathing room at this checkpoint that we set on ourselves,” Messi said. “To start off in this manner and get the most points possible before tournaments like Copa America, Leagues Cup, and everything that is yet to come.”

What is Inter Miami's upcoming schedule?

Here are Inter Miami’s games in March. All games available to stream on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

  • March 7, at Nashville SC, 9 p.m. ET (Concacaf Champions Cup)

  • March 10, vs. CF Montréal, 5 p.m. ET

  • March 13, vs. Nashville SC, 8:15 p.m. ET (Concacaf Champions Cup)

  • March 16, at D.C. United, 2 p.m. ET

  • March 23, at New York Red Bulls, 2 p.m. ET

  • March 30, vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m. ET

When will Messi play with Argentina?

Messi was selected by Argentina to play in two recently announced matches, which will serve as warmups for Copa America.

  • March 22 vs. El Salvador in Philadelphia

  • March 26 vs. Costa Rica in Los Angeles

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Messi eyes MLS Cup 2024 with Inter Miami off to strong start