Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami from PSG last year on a two-and-a-half-year contract Marco Bello/Reuters

Football icon Lionel Messi is gearing up for his first full season at Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Messi parted ways with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the summer of 2023 and joined Inter Miami on a two-and-a-half-year contract. The MLS season typically gets underway in February, but Messi's league debut in the US happened in August 2023.

In his debut MLS campaign, Messi finished with a goal and two assists from six matches. The World Cup-winning captain led Inter Miami to their maiden trophy by winning the Leagues Cup just a few months after arriving in Florida. Messi and Co also reached the U.S. Open Cup final, but fell short to the Houston Dynamo.

The 36-year-old star finished his first season with Inter Miami with 11 goals and five assists from 14 games across all competitions. With Messi having his former FC Barcelona teammates Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets beside him, football fans across the USA and Canada are excited about witnessing the Barcelona reunion in a full season, under former Barca coach Gerardo Martino.

When will the MLS 2024 season begin?

The MLS 2024 season is scheduled to kick-off on Feb. 21.

What is Inter Miami's opening game of the MLS 2024 season?

The opening game of the 2024 MLS season is between Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake. The match will be played at Miami's home ground DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Inter Miami 2024 Schedule (All kick-off times listed as ET):

February 21 vs Real Salt Lake - 8 pm

February 25 at LA Galaxy - 8:30 pm

March 2 vs Orlando City - 4:30 pm

March 10 vs CF Montreal - 6 pm

March 16 at DC United - 2 pm

March 23 at New York Red Bulls - 2 pm

March 30 vs New York City FC - 7:30 pm

April 6 vs Colorado Rapids - 7:30 pm

April 13 at Sporting Kansas City - 8:30 pm

April 20 vs Nashville SC - 7:30 pm

April 27 at New England Revolution - 7:30 pm

May 4 vs New York Red Bulls - 7:30 pm

May 11 at CF Montreal - 7:30 pm

May 15 at Orlando City - 7:30 pm

May 18 vs DC United - 7:30 pm

May 25 at Vancouver Whitecaps - 10:30 pm

May 29 vs Atlanta United - 7:30 pm

June 1 vs St. Louis City SC - 7:30 pm

June 15 at Philadelphia Union - 7:30 pm

June 19 vs Columbus Crew - 7:30 pm

June 29 at Nashville SC - 8:30 pm

July 3 at Charlotte FC - 7:30 pm

July 6 at FC Cincinnati - 7:30 pm

July 17 vs Toronto FC - 7:30 pm

July 20 vs Chicago Fire - 7:30 pm

August 24 vs FC Cincinnati - 7:30 pm

August 31 at Chicago Cire - 8:30 pm

September 14 vs Philadelphia Union - 7:30 pm

September 18 at Atlanta United - 7:30 pm

September 21 at New York City FC - 2 pm

September 28 vs Charlotte FC - 7:30 pm

October 2 at Columbus Crew - 7:30 pm

October 5 at Toronto FC - 7:30 pm

October 19 vs New England Revolution - 6 pm

Messi's Inter Miami recently travelled to Asia on a pre-season tour, where they played in Saudi Arabia, Japan and Hong Kong. The Argentina skipper found himself in a massive controversy when he did not make an appearance for Inter Miami in their friendly game in Hong Kong, leaving a massive crowd of 40,000 furious.

Since Messi went on to play in Japan, it didn't go down well with the Chinese fans, with many – including pro-Beijing politicians in Hong Kong – terming it an insult to China.

In retaliation, sports authorities in Beijing and Hangzhou then announced they would no longer host the two friendly matches the Argentina side was scheduled to play in March.

Messi has now opened up on his decision to skip Inter Miami's game in Hong Kong, saying he has a great relationship with China and he didn't miss the match on purpose and an injury kept him away.

"As I said in the press conference, I had an inflamed adductor and I couldn't play in the first game in Saudi Arabia, which is when I felt it. In the second game, I tried to play for a bit, but it got worse. Then on the day before the game [in Hong Kong] I tried to train and made an effort for all those who had come to watch training.

"It felt a bit better a few days later and that's why I played for a bit in Japan to prepare fitness-wise for everything to come because I needed to play and get back up to speed," added Messi in an interview.