Lionel Messi set to play in tournament that hasn't been staged since 1998
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Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami teammates will soon feature in a club competition that hasn't been staged in 26 years, say reports.
For the first time since 1998, the Copa Interamericana – a cross-continental tournament featuring top clubs from both North and South America – will take place next year after it was revived by CONCACAF and CONMEBOL
The competition was renowned for being a two-club tournament between the champions of the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the Copa Libertadores.
But, according to Spanish publication AS, the upcoming tournament in 2024 will be an extended version.
Now, it appears the winners of the previous year's Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Leagues Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League will come together in a four-team knockout tournament.
So who will feature in the Copa Interamericana? Lionel Messi will be hoping to lift another piece of silverware after Inter Miami qualified through their Leagues Cup win in August.
Copa Libertadores champions Fluminense will also be looking to lift the trophy, as will Ecuadorian outfit LDU Quito, who won the Copa Sudamericana, and CONCACAF Champions League winners Club Leon.
Gerardo Martino's side are set to face Brazil's Fluminense in the semi-finals, say reports.
🏆Copa interamericana— CONCACAF Zone (@TodoConcacaf) November 5, 2023
Estos son los 4 Equipos que jugarían el Torneo continental Americano que se pauso. Según los medios este seria el formato para la Copa.
🇪🇨Liga de Quito pic.twitter.com/rRfg4lHUDe
So why was it discontinued in 1998? It appears teams from both federations were instead competing in continental tournaments hosted by the other, with Mexican clubs instead competing in the Copa Libertadores.
In total, 13 different teams have won the Copa Interamericana, including Argentine side Independiente, who lifted the trophy a record three times.
Uruguayan outfit Nacional lifted it twice, as did Liga MX side Club America and Colombian giants Atlético Nacional.
MLS outfit DC United were the last team to win it, when they defeated Brazilian outfit Vasco da Gama in 1998.
It is said that organisers agreed to bring the competition back in January, six months before Lionel Messi joined up with his new teammates at Inter Miami.
At the time of writing, the competition has yet to be officially announced but CONMEBOL are expected to release a statement in the coming days.