On Friday, Inter Miami announced plans to play Japan League winner Vissel Kobe as part of Lionel Messi’s world tour with the club next year.
The Argentine superstar will lead Inter Miami into the match on February 7 at the 60,000-seat Japan National Stadium as part of an MLS pre-season trip that also includes games in Hong Kong and Riyadh.
“Tokyo is an inspiring destination with a fervent football community that we’re looking forward to getting acquainted with,” said Inter Miami chief business officer Xavier Asensi.
“We’re thrilled to visit Japan as one of our stops as we continue to bring joy to our global fan base.”
Vissel Kobe is the former club of legendary Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta, who will attend the game and reunite with Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba of Inter Miami.
While playing for Real Madrid, the players won the UEFA Champions League and four La Liga crowns, while Iniesta won the World Cup with Busquets and the European Championship with both Busquets and Alba.
“Vissel Kobe is a powerhouse club in Asia coming off a historic season after winning the J1 League, so we’re thrilled about this opportunity to sharpen our team in a match like this one,” Inter Miami sporting director Chris Henderson said.
“We continue to look for the best ways to prepare for 2024 and feel confident this match and this tour will help us do that.”
Inter Miami will begin its 2024 adventure in El Salvador on January 19, then head to Saudi Arabia for matches against Al-Hilal on January 29 and Al Nassr on February 1 before concluding in Hong Kong on February 4.