Inter Miami CF star Lionel Messi will clash with his childhood club Newell’s Old Boys in a preseason friendly match in February.
Miami will host the team from Argentina on February 15 at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, both teams confirmed on Monday.
It will be the first time Messi will play against the club that saw him take his first steps as a football player.
The Argentina national team captain played for Newell’s youth team in his hometown Rosario until he was 13 when he moved to FC Barcelona.
Gerardo Martino will also face a familiar team. The Inter Miami coach debuted as a player with Newell’s in 1980 and holds the record for most appearances in the club’s history.
“I am delighted to welcome my beloved Newell’s to our home here in Miami. It will be a special match due to everything Newell’s Old Boys means to me,” said Martino in a team’s statement. “It will also be a good opportunity to prepare for what will surely be an exciting season.”
Martino won four titles as the leader of Newell’s midfield. Additionally, he had a successful stint as a head coach, winning another title in 2013.
“We’re very pleased to be able to play this exciting preseason match at home in front of our fans at DRV PNK Stadium,” said Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson.
“This match against Newell’s is a great addition to a set of matches that will put us in the best position possible to compete in 2024. We’re excited for what is ahead.”
With the addition of this friendly match, Miami’s preseason schedule will have six friendlies before the start of the next MLS season.
The team’s first international tour will start in San Salvador with a game vs. El Salvador national team on Jan. 19. The trip will continue in Saudi Arabia with two games, against Al Hilal (Jan. 29) and the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Al Nassr (Feb. 1). Messi and Inter Miami will also face a team composed of top players from the First Division league in Hong Kong on Feb. 4. The tour will end with a game at the Japan National Stadium on Feb. 7 against Vissel Kobe.