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Messi at Copa America 2024: Where to See the GOAT in Action

Lionel Messi is a man who needs no introduction. Off the field, he’s followed everywhere, with fans clamoring to get a glance of their hero. On the field, he’s a mindblowing, once-in-a-lifetime talent. When Messi’s on the ball, it feels like everything slows down, and you can’t help but hold your breath, knowing there’s a good chance something spectacular is about to unfold. 

Watching Messi play in the flesh is an incredible experience. Not only is it fun to keep an eye on his bodyguard throughout the game, but watching Messi’s movement, the way he controls the game and pulls the strings even when he doesn’t have the ball, is something I’d never, ever seen before. 

If you have the opportunity to see Messi play, take it. And, if you’re traveling to Copa America 2024 to see Messi play, here’s everything you need to know. 

Will Messi Play at Copa America 2024?

Messi certainly plans on playing at Copa America 2024. He currently plays his club football at Inter Miami FC in the US’s Major League Soccer (MLS) league. While the MLS isn’t taking an official break during Copa America, players will be released to join their national teams for the tournament, and Messi is no exception. But…

Messi’s Injury Cloud for Copa America 2024

It’s safe to say Messi isn’t 100%. A grueling pre-season with Inter Miami took him and his friends on a seven-match jet-setting trip around the world, and although Messi didn’t play every minute (or in some cases, any minutes), there’s no doubt that it was a taxing way to start the season. 

Since then, Messi has played an instrumental role in the early stages of Inter Miami’s MLS season, but he’s been ruled out of recent matches, including upcoming Argentina friendlies, with a hamstring injury.

We don’t know how long Messi will be on the sidelines – all we can do is send positive thoughts to one of the most important right hamstring muscles in the world. Gulp. 

Will Messi Play at the Olympics?

There’s a slight plot twist with this year’s Copa America, in that it wraps up (July 14th) just before the football program at the Summer Olympics kicks off in Paris (July 24th). Men’s Olympic football rosters are typically for U23 squads, so many younger players may be torn between Copa America 2024 (and Euro 2024) and the Summer Olympics, or trying to manage both. 

Each Olympic roster is allowed to include up to three players over the age of 23, which means that Messi could technically be eligible. However, this would require 1) him to be healthy immediately after what could be a grueling Copa America, 2) Inter Miami to agree to release their talisman for back-to-back tournaments, 3) Argentina to select him as one of those three players, and 4) Messi himself to want to play in the Olympics. 

As of May 2024, Messi will paly at Copa America 100%.

Where to See Messi at Copa America 2024

If you’re not traveling for Copa America (more on that later), you can still catch his matches with La Albiceleste throughout the tournament. Here’s a guide on when, where, and who Argentina is playing, from the group stage through to (hopefully) the final. 

Argentina’s Matches at Copa America 2024

We don’t know Argentina’s exact path through Copa America yet, but here’s what we know so far: 

DateTime (local)OpponentCityStadium
Thursday, June 20th 20:00Concacaf 5 (TBD)Atlanta, GAMercedes-Benz Stadium
Tuesday, June 25th21:00ChileEast Rutherford, NJMetLife Stadium
Saturday, June 29th20:00PeruMiami, FLHard Rock Stadium
July 4th / July 5th20:00TBDHouston, TX / Arlington, TXNRG Stadium / AT&T Stadium
Tuesday, July 9th20:00TBDEast Rutherford, NJMetLife Stadium
Sunday, July 14th20:00TBDMiami, FLHard Rock Stadium

The first three matches in the above table are confirmed – these are Argentina’s Group A matches. Their first match is against a team that’s yet to qualify for the tournament; it will be either Canada or Trinidad and Tobago. 

The final three matches in the table depend on where Argentina finishes in Group A. If they finish first in Group A, their quarterfinal will be on July 4th in Hoston, TX. If they finish second in Group A, their quarterfinal will be on July 5th in Arlington, TX. Their semifinal and final will be the same, regardless of which quarterfinal they end up in. 

Traveling to See Messi at Copa America 2024

If you have the opportunity to travel for Copa America and watch Messi play in front of you, take it! It will take some planning, though. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the US and traveling around the Copa America 2024 host cities to watch him take the field with La Albiceleste. 

Requirements for Entering the US for Copa America

The USA has a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that outlines special relationships with 40+ countries around the world. If you’re traveling with a passport from one of the countries in the VWP (find the list here), you don’t need a visa to travel to the US. 

Instead, you’ll need to apply online for an ESTA. Make sure you understand the requirements, including the fact that your visit to the US must be for 90 days or less, you must have a valid passport, and you’re visiting the US for tourism or business purposes. 

If your passport isn’t from one of the VWP countries, you’ll need to apply for a B-2 Visitor Visa. This process is a bit more involved, and can take a long time (depending on the country you’re applying from). Start by completing Form DS-160, which is your visa application, then schedule your visa interview at a US consulate or embassy in your country

Make sure you understand how to complete the DS-160 properly, the photo requirements, how to pay, and have all the documentation required for your interview. When scheduling your interview, check whether you have a choice of multiple consulates/embassies that offer B-2 visa interviews, and compare interview wait times. 

Where to Stay and How to Travel to See Messi at Copa America 2024

Once you have your visa, you’re ready to start planning your trip to the US for Copa America 2024! Argentina’s first match is in Atlanta, so the best airport to fly into is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Then, you’ll be traveling to East Rutherford, NJ (just a short train ride from New York City), and Miami, FL for the third group-stage match. 

In terms of traveling between US cities, I’d recommend flying – Argentina is playing at very spread-out stadiums, and driving between each venue would take days. Plus, public transport between major US cities is limited. You can find relatively cheap domestic flights, especially if you book with budget airlines like Southwest or JetBlue – just make sure you understand what is and isn’t included. 

In terms of accommodation, hotels are great for solo travelers or couples. All major US cities have a huge selection of hotels to choose from, to suit different price ranges. Hostels are harder to find in the US, but you may have some luck in NYC and Miami if you’re looking for budget accommodation options. If you’re traveling with a larger group, check out Airbnb and Vbro – sometimes they offer better deals than booking multiple hotel rooms. 

I’ve already made some hotel recommendations for fans traveling to Copa America to watch Argentina play – check out this article for Argentina fans at Copa America 2024 for all the details!

How to Get Tickets to See Messi at Copa America 2024

When Copa America 2024 tickets first went on sale at the end of January, Argentina’s matches were selling out quickly. Currently, for their three group-stage matches, all original tickets have been sold, but resale tickets are still available (though they may be more expensive than the original, face-value tickets). 

To make sure you’re booking legit resale tickets, and to protect yourself from scams, make sure you’re using the official Ticketmaster and SeatGeek links for each match. You can find those links from the Copa America page here.

Regardless of which quarterfinal Argentina ends up in, they will play in Semifinal 1 if they progress. This semifinal is at Metlife Stadium in NJ/NY on July 9th. You can find tickets to that match here. The final is being held in Miami, FL, on July 14th, but tickets for that match aren’t yet on sale. 

Are Tickets to See Messi at Copa America Expensive?

They sure are. Currently, the cheapest tickets for Argentina’s first two group-stage matches are selling for $300+. Tickets for their third group-stage match start at $500. In contrast, tickets to see the USA play Uruguay in Kansas City, MO, currently start at $85. That’s the Messi Effect for you!

Tips for Seeing Messi at Copa America 2024

Watching Messi play is an awesome experience – the atmosphere alone is incredible, before the magician even sets foot on the field. Having seen Messi play in LA in his MLS era, here are my tips for anyone planning on heading to an Argentina match at Copa America 2024. 

Check Views When Buying Tickets

Seeing Messi play is expensive – you simply won’t find cheap tickets, even if you wait for last-minute resales on the day of the match. Seeing as you’re going to be forking out a lot of money for a ticket, it’s important to make sure your view is decent. When browsing your ticket options, try using A View From My Seat. It shows you the view from different angles in each stadium – pretty handy!

Arrive Early For Warmups

These games are sold out, so you’re going to be fighting through a crowd of 50,000+ people to get into the stadium. Arriving early is a good idea regardless, but it’s even better to enter the stadium early and watch the players warm up. This is a great chance to see Messi in relaxed, pre-game mode. He’ll juggle a ball around, mess about with his teammates, and try some audacious shots. It’s a fun chance to see a semi-candid side of the GOAT. 

Be Prepared for Crazy Crowds

Crowds at any Copa America match will be intense, but Messi crowds are next-level. For many people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see their idol play, and they’re ready for the moment. Be prepared for an unprecedented level of intensity, fandom, noise, and crazy crowds – it’s an experience in itself. 

Plan Ahead and Watch Messi at Copa America 2024

Messi’s Copa America 2024 journey is about to kick off, which means it’s time to finalize your own travel plans for the tournament! Hopefully, this guide answers all your questions and gives you the tips you need to make the most of this chance to see him take to the field. 

So, sort out your visa, pack your bags, lock in some accommodation, and get ready to see one of the most incredible players in the history of football lace up their boots.