FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Shortly after the turn of the new year, Luis Robles reached out to his future teammates via social media and text to organize personal training sessions prior to the official start of preseason.
That type of dedication and drive are some of the qualities that have made Robles so successful in his career, and what just helped him earn a historic achievement.
Robles was named the first captain in Inter Miami history on Tuesday, with head coach Diego Alonso making the appointment prior to the start of the morning training session. The 35-year-old goalkeeper was given the news in front of the entire team, as well as club co-owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas, just five days before the start of the club’s expansion season.
“As I shared with the guys, I’m truly honored and proud to be able to represent the guys in this capacity,” said Robles. “I’ll do everything I can not only to represent them but the club in the best way possible.”
Already accustomed to wearing the armband after doing so over the past two seasons with the New York Red Bulls, Robles is planning to stick with his leadership style. He wants to not only guide and encourage the younger players on the roster with his words, but is also with his actions in matches and training.
“There are certain players that walk onto the training field or the stadium and they’ve got an aura about them and they’ve got a leadership about them,” said Beckham. “That’s why he’s our captain. The manager is the one who decides who is the captain and when he spoke to us about it, we all totally agreed.”
Here are more notes from Inter Miami training:
Almendra expected to arrive soon
The reports and rumors are true.
Augustin Almendra has been heavily linked in recent weeks with joining Inter Miami, and he is in fact the player the team is targeting for the central midfield spot it is looking to fill. Inter Miami is currently in negotiations with the 20-year-old Argentine, but expects to come to terms with him in the near future.
“I’ll confirm we have been in conversations with Augustin Almendra from Boca Juniors,” said Mas. “I do anticipate and expect that that loan will happen, and will be completed very, very soon.”
Agudelo remains a question mark for opener
The status of Juan Agudelo for Sunday’s season opener remains a mystery.
Inter Miami has not divulged any information with regards to the health of Agudelo, who tweaked his right hamstring a-week-and-a-half ago in the first half of a preseason game against the Philadelphia Union.
Agudelo was seen doing individual training with a physiotherapist at practice on Monday, but there is no official word yet from the club as to whether the 27-year-old attacker has any chance of making it to the upcoming road game vs. LAFC.
“Unfortunately, he’s been hurt but we’re hoping he can recover,” said midfielder Victor Ulloa in Spanish on Monday. “We know he’s an important player for us. He has a lot of experience in this league, and he’s a forward we’re going to need for this long season.”
If Agudelo misses out against LAFC this weekend, Inter Miami would be without two of its top forward options. Julian Carranza is also sidelined for the match with a left foot injury.
Nguyen says no contact with Vietnamese club
If a Vietnamese club is interested in Lee Nguyen, the veteran midfielder does not know about it.
A report last week from VietnamNet stated that Ho Chi Minh City FC was in talks with Nguyen about a potential move. Nguyen said at Inter Miami practice on Wednesday that he had not had any contact with the team, but did not know if his agent had.
“Personally, no, I haven’t no,” said Nguyen before being asked if his agent had spoken to Ho Chi Minh City FC. “I have no idea. He hasn’t told me anything about that. I’ve been focused with Miami so far.”
— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) February 26, 2020
Inaugural home jersey draws mixed reviews
Inter Miami officially unveiled its first home jersey on Monday afternoon, but the reaction from within camp to the predominantly white top with pink accents has been mixed.
“I wish we had a pink one,” said midfielder A.J. De La Garza with a chuckle on Monday. “(The white jersey is) nice and very clean. I know a lot of people don’t like how boring they might be.”
Ulloa agreed that it would have been nice to have a pink kit, but said that he liked both the white home top and away black uniform. He added that his favorite was the former.
Co-owner Beckham, meanwhile, stated on Tuesday that he was pleased with the outcome of the inaugural home look.
“Why wasn’t it pink? It’s got pink on it,” said Beckham. “We always said that we wanted a kit that the fans would be proud of. There’s always going to be certain people that maybe think it should be one color or should be something different, but I think we’re more than happy with what we’ve done with this club so far. More importantly, I think our fans are happy.”