The development of Miami Freedom Park, the new stadium for Inter Miami of Major League Soccer, will not be ready until 2026, according to a new report. Initial plans for the 25,000-seat stadium laid out a debut for the 2025 season. However, construction updates show minimal progress on the stadium despite clear progress in land clearing.

Futbol Miami TV, an Inter Miami fan channel on YouTube, has been recording by video the progress of the stadium and the surrounding grounds since 2023. The lack of development has raised questions about whether Lionel Messi will play in the new stadium. The Argentine has one more year on his current contract with Inter Miami. Therefore, if the club puts off moving into the new stadium, Messi may not help its debut.

“Permits have been approved for foundation work, so we should start seeing some actual progress,” Futbol Miami TV host Pieter Brown told viewers. “I was told vertical [construction would happen] in the next month or two.

“Opening date? End of 2025. The team would not play next year [in 2025] in the stadium. The season would be 2026.”

In other words, Brown’s report means Lionel Messi will not play a MLS game at Miami Freedom Park. His contract expires at the end of the 2025 season.

The former Melreese Country Club near the Miami International Airport needed considerable remediation after years of contamination from toxic ash underneath the soil. Futbol Miami TV recently captured construction equipment banging the ground to make it firmer and more solid. This will allow the foundation of the stadium to be more secure before building the stadium.

Would Messi stay to see out Inter Miami new stadium?

Inter Miami has become a driving force in Major League Soccer, and that is a credit to Lionel Messi. Although other MLS clubs have new, lavish soccer-specific stadiums, Inter Miami’s venue is one of the most exciting projects in the league. Again, though, fans hope to see Lionel Messi competing in the stadium. That would drive ticket sales and broadcast excitement for the league.

This makes securing Messi to a contract extension the top priority for Inter Miami and Major League Soccer as a whole. Messi admitted that Inter Miami will be his last club, which could be good news for the side. It does not have to contend with Messi saving a year or two to play with one of his former clubs. That said, Messi is 37 years old. During the 2026 MLS season, which is when the stadium is likely to open, Messi will turn 39.

The one saving grace for Inter Miami is that Messi has plenty of reason to continue his playing career into 2026. His performances have not slowed down despite his age. Moreover, he will not have to travel around much. The World Cup in 2026 is in the United States, with Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium hosting seven games in the tournament. These would be effective home games for Messi with Argentina having huge support in the area.