Messi’s Miami preparing for a great season and the lessons of the Henderson case

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami set out on a world tour. In other news, Jordan Henderson’s departure from the Saudi Pro League provides a great lesson in public relations.

Welcome to Onside/Offside! Every week, Luis Miguel Echeguere tells us what he likes and doesn’t like about the world of football; Including the most outstanding performances, matches that may have gone under the table and what we should keep in mind in the coming days. And of course, some things that probably deserved extra love or criticism.

This week we have the return of Lionel Messi and Inter Miami, who prepare to start their world tour in best Taylor Swift style, the return of Ivan Toni, Jordan Henderson’s inconvenient departure from the Saudi Pro League… and much more something more!


Inter Miami’s global tour begins

When Lionel Messi arrived in South Florida last June, Inter Miami and MLS embarked on a mission to introduce the World Cup champion to the American stage with the Argentina national team. And it couldn’t have gone any better, because it was a perfect moment. Even after Messi’s arrival, expectations for what the club would be able to achieve were low due to mediocre results. A few weeks later, they won the League Cup championship, Messi’s name was everywhere and the club had inspired not only a fan base, but the entire country.

We fast forward the film to the present and now have clear expectations and objectives. Messi (along with Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and the rest of his teammates) should feel fresh after a long break. Coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino has a transformed squad, especially thanks to several key signings such as Julian Gressel and his most famous signing so far this offseason: Luis Suarez.

With all these reinforcements and a higher standard to measure success, the added need to globalize Inter Miami is necessary because after all, it is not just a football club, it is a company. Inter Miami’s preseason resembles a world concert (like Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour”): Messi’s team plans to play a total of seven games (maybe more) and only two of them are played in the United States Will go. joined in.

As you read this note, the club is set to play against the national team in El Salvador at the Cuscatlán Stadium in the capital, San Salvador. A few days later, they will step onto the field of the Cotton Bowl in Texas where they will face FC Dallas and then they will fly to Saudi Arabia to play matches against Al Hilal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr in Riyadh. -Will play dollar competition. Following these extraordinary stops, the Florida Herons will fly to Hong Kong to face an Ideal XI of the Asian island’s greats and then head to Tokyo, where they will face J1 League champions Vissel Kobe. Barcelona and Spain national team legend Andres Iniesta, who wore the Japanese club’s shirt, will be in attendance.

And they are not finished. Once the tour concludes, Inter Miami will return to Fort Lauderdale for a final, emotional preseason match against Messi (and “Tata” Martino’s) first love: Newell’s Old Boys.

This is a tour of enormous magnitude, and it is important for the club to maximize the marketing potential of Messi and his teammates; However, the top priority for “Tata” will be the need to balance the minutes of its players. At the end of the day, all those stadiums will be filled for one and only one reason: Lionel Messi. So the question is: How much will you see of him during this preseason world tour?

Oh, let’s go with a curious fact: Taylor Swift will perform in Japan on the same day (February 7) of the clash between Inter Miami and Vissel Kobe. What days they will spend in the land of the rising sun.

return of evan toney

He paid his debt. He has served his sentence and is working on his rehabilitation process. Now, let the man cook.

After serving an eight-month ban for breaching sports betting rules set by the Football Association of England (FA), Tony is back and I have no doubt that he will be on a mission to make up for lost time. However, the question remains whether he will remain at Brentford or whether there will be another club that will be able to pay the high price for his signature, a requirement arising from his remarkable record as a striker in the Premier League (32 goals in 68 matches). .

“You never know when it’s the right time to move somewhere else, but I think it’s clear that I want to play for a top club,” Toney said. “Everyone wants to play for a big team that fights for the title. If this January is the right time for a club to come and pay the right amount, who knows?”

The truth is, no one knows.

Arsenal, a club that has talented scorers but is not capable of scoring 20 goals, seems to be the perfect place for him, but Mikel Arteta’s team cannot afford to sign him. The element of loyalty also comes into play as Brentford supported both him and his family during this difficult time, especially when he was unable to train or make any contact with the club during his first four months in his country.

Should the English striker stay at the club that supported him during this nightmare?

Toney, who is also trying to make the England squad for this summer’s Euros, could be in the squad against Nottingham Forest this weekend and I’m confident he will score if he gets on the field.

off side

Jordan Henderson, Saudi League and Public Relations Lessons

Last September, Jordan Henderson said that his controversial move to Saudi Arabia and Al Ettifaq could be seen as a positive, despite strong criticism from the LGBTQIA+ community, due to that country’s questionable record on human rights, including its crackdown on homosexuality. It also includes legislation making it illegal and punishing it. Death Penalty. The midfielder denied that money was the main reason for his signing for the Saudi team, indicating that a meeting with Steven Gerrard and the opportunity to face new challenges were factors that influenced the decision.

Henderson denied earning £700,000 a week. Six months after his transfer, the British midfielder arrives in Holland to wear the Ajax shirt. And according to multiple newspaper reports, he will not receive a cent of the payment made by Al Ettifaq after deferring his salary for tax reasons in the United Kingdom. Most notably, however, his reputation as an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and equality was tarnished.

Ultimately, this story became an excellent lesson in public relations and Warren Buffett’s quote has never been more relevant than now: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”



Inter Miami tour and the “Messi-experience”

The first stop of the tour will be in El Salvador to face the national team. Will the team benefit from football or will the revenue be exclusively economic?

Henderson, who had an impeccable reputation before moving to Saudi Arabia, has done a lot for many communities throughout his career. During the pandemic, the England international created and led an initiative with other Premier League captains to raise funds to help healthcare workers in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). Additionally, Henderson has consistently spoken out in favor of gay inclusion and representation in men’s football.

But his reputation was damaged by going to Saudi Arabia. Does Henderson deserve to be punished for his entire career and suffer public condemnation as a result of his hypocrisy? No, but I hope the situation has taught him (as well as other players) the lesson that it’s better to be honest before creating a perfect public image.

What if Henderson had said, “Look, I’ve got my family to take care of, and the money you’re offering me is too much to turn down. I know that. It’s hypocritical. But if you What would you do if you were me? Are we perfect?” No. So please know that I’m doing what’s best for me and my family.” Would have been the subject of negative reactions? Absolutely. And rightfully so. But at least people would know the truth.

There is still time for Henderson to come forward and clean up this mess by admitting his mistake. They may not forgive him, but at least we will get an honest statement from him and after that, the public can start respecting him again.

Finally, while we’ve heard reports that other players (including Karim Benzema) are looking to leave Saudi Arabia, it’s likely that Henderson’s departure won’t be the only news to see this month. Players headed to the Arab nation for the Saudi Pro League and its lucrative contract offers are learning a valuable lesson. To develop a successful project, the most important factor is to understand what the project actually represents.

Allegations of financial violations in the Premier League, and why we can’t compare them to Manchester City’s situation

Earlier this week, Everton (who faced a 10-point deduction in November due to breaches in the 2021-22 season) and Nottingham Forest were charged with alleged breaches of Premier League rules on profits and economic sustainability Was imposed. 2022-23 campaign. As a result, he was referred to an independent commission and could face fines and, yes, point deductions.

As soon as the news was revealed, there were immediate reactions on social networks with people asking: “How is it possible that Everton and Nottingham Forest have been relegated while Manchester City is moving forward without facing consequences?”

Here we should have some clarity on the matter, as Everton and Forest have accepted their bans (but not before going through the process in which they defended their relegation). Both clubs were subject to financial rules approved by vote by Premier League members; For their part, Manchester City has been denying any irregularities in relation to the 115 alleged breaches of not only the Premier League, but also UEFA.

This is a very important case, in which the club has and will continue to spend a lot of money on lawyers who exploit any legal loophole to obstruct the process. This is not the same situation. Yes, it is disappointing not to see results in Manchester City’s situation, but that is the reality. One is a simple question. The second is a labyrinth.

the last word

The African Cup of Nations was fun! This is my favorite moment of all time, when Equatorial Guinea midfielder Emilio Nsue scored a historic hat-trick against Guinea-Bissau, becoming the oldest player in tournament history to accomplish the feat at the age of 34 years and 110 days . But what do they say about celebrations? He is the real winner.

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