Will Lionel Messi's Inter Miami set a record in MLS?

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What happens when you combine the 31st-best soccer league in the world with the best player ever, maybe the best striker of his generation, possibly the best holding midfielder of his generation and perhaps the best left back of his generation?

Total domination... right? Right?

After all, once Lionel Messi arrived at Inter Miami halfway through last season Miami seemingly and immediately went from the worst team in MLS to the best team in North America, en route to the Leagues Cup title. Soccer is supposed to be the ultimate team sport, but for at least a couple of months last summer, Messi proved that one player could single-handedly win game after game.

Of course, then it all just sort of fizzled away. Messi got hurt, Miami stopped winning games, and the club never really even came close to sniffing a playoff berth in a league where more than 60% of the teams qualify for the postseason.

After signing Uruguayan superstar Luis Suárez this winter, Miami now likely has the four best players in MLS. In fact, the ex-Barcelona quartet of Messi, Suárez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba might be the four best players to ever play in MLS. The club now has the highest ceiling of any MLS team in league history.

At the same time, Suárez is 37, Messi 36, Busquets 35 and Alba 34. And before the trio of Messi, Busquets and Alba joined midseason in 2023, this same club had the fewest points of any team in MLS.

Given the age of those stars, then, Inter Miami head into the 2024 season boasting a contradictory set of realities hidden within the same squad. This team has the potential to be the greatest team MLS has ever seen -- but there's also the possibility that Miami will land closer to the bottom of the table than the top.

So, what will Miami become at the end of the season, which starts on Feb. 22: the greatest MLS team ever, or the biggest disappointment MLS has ever seen?