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Lionel Messi Trains For The 1st Time With His Inter Miami Teammates

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Lionel Messi jogged a lap with his new teammates, took part in a warmup drill of players making short passes in a tight circle and before long tapped his left foot at a ball that wound up in the back of an open net. Inter Miami’s new star wasted no time fitting right in.

The World Cup winner and seven-time Ballon d’Or recipient as the world’s best player took part in a training session with his new Major League Soccer club for the first time on Tuesday, three days after signing a 2 1/2 year contract that’ll pay him between $50 million and $60 million a year.

A helicopter hovered overhead, drones buzzed around the field and about 200 media members lined up toward the back of the complex to get a look at Messi. He, like newly signed Sergio Busquets — also a World Cup winner — went through a welcome tunnel as part of the first practice, which meant jogging past teammates as they lined up and clapped.

Messi’s first match is expected to be Friday, a Leagues Cup contest at home against Cruz Azul. Some tickets are going for as little as $275 or so on the secondary market; some of the very best seats are exceeding $19,000. Prices have been fluctuating quite a bit and likely will continue doing so until game time.

Then again, someone might get front-row tickets for $1. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican candidate for president, has asked backers to “consider making a $1 donation” to get him on the debate stage — saying all such donors would be entered in a chance to be in the front row for Messi’s debut game.

Such is the power of Messi. Inter Miami hasn’t won an MLS match in more than two months; it has gone 0-8-3 in MLS play since beating New England on May 13.

Making the MLS playoffs are a long shot for Miami. But there is hope for other trophies, such as Leagues Cup — a tournament between teams from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX, with both leagues shutting down regular play for the competition — and the U.S. Open Cup.

Inter Miami is in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup; it’ll play Cincinnati in late August. The final of that tournament is in September.

Messi’s decision to play in the U.S. might be the biggest boost ever for American soccer on the pro stage. Some of the game’s biggest names — Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Thierry Henry and Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham himself — have come to the U.S. toward the end of their careers, but landing a player still no worse than near the pinnacle of his game and just a few months removed from hoisting a World Cup is simply huge, especially with part of the next World Cup in 2026 set to be played on U.S. soil.

“It shouldn’t be lost on anybody that the timing is right,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Copa America will be here in 2024, Club World Cup will be here in 2025, the World Cup will be here in 2026. This is not a coincidence, right? It’s all part of our continual focus to do everything we can to make our league a league of choice, not just here, but around the world and be part of the conversation.”

Sport

Napoli Sack Rudi Garcia, Announce Mazzarri As Replacement

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Serie A giants Napoli have announced the departure of coach Rudi Garcia after a poor spell and announced his successor with immediate effect

Reigning Serie A champions Napoli have announced the departure of French manager Rudi Garcia after a poor run of form that sees the Partenopei handing on to faint hopes of defending the Scudetto title won last season.

Napoli have only claimed one win in their last four matches in all competitions, trailing Serie A leaders Inter by 10 points while also trailing Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League by five points.

Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli reportedly appoint Walter Mazzarri to replace Rudi Garcia

With the Partenopei looking a lot worse than they did at this stage last season, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has chosen to act swiftly before things get out of hand.

The club chief revealed that Garcia had been relieved of his duty, after posting a message on social media platform X to announce the arrival of the Frenchman’s replacement.

Napoli announce Garcia successor
That replacement is a former Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri[url][/url], who was welcomed back to the club by De Laurentiis, who was also the owner during his last spell at the club.

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Foreign

Wherever I went, people abused me every day, spat at me – David Beckham reveals how his 1998 World Cup red card still hurts

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Football icon, David Beckham has laid bare the lingering pain he felt he caused his family following the red card he received at the 1998 World Cup, saying his dismissal left him a “mess.”

This was revealed in a new Netflix documentary series entitled “Beckham”, set for release on Wednesday, October 4 in which the ex-Manchester, PSG and Real Madrid midfielder looks back on his career.

Beckham, now 48 and the co-owner of MLS franchise Inter Miami, was sent off for kicking the back of Diego Simeone’s leg during a last-16 World Cup tie against Argentina.

England went on to lose the match following a penalty shoot-out, with Beckham widely blamed for the defeat with rival fans repeatedly jeering him when in action for Manchester United during the following season.

In the documentary, his wife, Victoria Beckham said the continued abuse left her husband “absolutely clinically depressed” as the then 23-year-old tried to deal with the fallout alongside becoming a father for the first time in March 1999.

Beckham admitted the abuse “took a toll on me that I never knew myself”.

He said: “I wish there was a pill you could take which could erase certain memories. I made a stupid mistake. It changed my life.

“We were in America (on holiday after the World Cup), just about to have our first baby, and I thought, ‘we will be fine. In a day or two people will have forgotten’.”

“I don’t think I have ever talked about it, just because I can’t. I find it hard to talk through what I went through because it was so extreme.

“Wherever I went, I got abused every single day — to walk down the street and to see people look at you in a certain way, spit at you, abuse you, come up to your face and say some of the things they said, that is difficult.

“I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping. I was a mess. I didn’t know what to do.”

“It brought a lot of attention that I would never wish on anyone, let alone my parents, and I can’t forgive myself for that.

“That is the tough part of what happened, because I was the one that made the mistake.

“It is only now that I am 47 years old, it is now that I beat myself up about it (still).”

Beckham’s wife also received abuse while attending football matches to support her husband.

“As horrible as it was to look up to Victoria in the stand (getting that abuse), it was the one thing which spurred me on,” he said.

But the 1998/99 season ended in triumph on the field, with a United side managed by Alex Ferguson winning a remarkable treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, with the European triumph sealed by two stunning goals in stoppage time in the final against Bayern Munich.

Beckham’s former United and England team-mate Gary Neville, who is part of the producers of the documentary, recalled how the pair were “absolutely destroying teams” down the right flank for United.

Neville said: I was supporting him in a way which was to be fair, I would say I was a side dish really. Not the beef. I was the mustard on the side.”

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