The clock is ticking for Inter Miami to get its new stadium in Miami ready for Lionel Messi before the World Cup star ends his contract in 2025. Named Miami Freedom Park, the construction of the new Inter Miami stadium is behind schedule. David Beckham originally wanted the 73-acre site to open in 2022. However, after repeated delays, the stadium is nowhere close to being done.

In fact, not a single shovel has been put into the ground. Instead, situated on the site of the closed Melreese Golf Club just east of the Miami International Airport, the site of Inter Miami’s future stadium is a mess. Overgrown grass and weeds obscure the former golf course, while one of the buildings is covered in grafitti.

That’s the least of Inter Miami’s problems. Before work can begin, the 73-acre plot of land needs to be remediated at an estimated cost of more than $35 million. Melreese Golf Course was built on top of an old incinerator ash dump. In fact, testing on the site uncovered plenty of contamination including elevated arsenic levels but also barium and lead above legal limits.

Once the land is cleared of hazardous chemicals, work can begin to build the $1 billion stadium, hotel, office park, and commercial campus that’s planned.

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Construction delays put new Miami stadium timeline to feature Messi in doubt

As shown in the video below from Futbol Miami TV, no work has been done on the land. In March 2023, since Melreese Golf Club left the premises, the site has been dormant.

Originally, MLS intended DRV PNK Stadium to be used for two seasons while Miami Freedom Park was built. Inter Miami, now in season four at the Fort Lauderdale stadium, is likely to have played six full seasons at the temporary ground before the new stadium is opened.

In fact, based on the lack of progress to date in Miami, don’t be surprised if Miami Freedom Park doesn’t open until 2026 at the earliest. If that happens, Messi won’t open the stadium as an Inter Miami footballer. Of course, there’s always the hope that he extends his contract with MLS, but by then he’ll be 38 or 39 years old.

Meanwhile, Messi’s next game for Inter Miami is Saturday night in the Leagues Cup final against Nashville.

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