Soccer fans were on the edge of their seats as Lionel Messi, one of the world’s top players, made his highly-anticipated debut for Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami. And boy, did he deliver!
In a thrilling Leagues Cup match against Mexico’s Cruz Azul, Messi saved the day for Inter Miami. With the game tied and the clock ticking down, he swooped in with a game-winning goal in the last moments of the second half. His stunning free-kick from outside the box sealed a 2-1 victory for Inter Miami, sending the fans at the packed DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, into wild celebrations.
In a post-match interview with Apple TV, Messi shared his excitement, saying, “All I saw was the goal. I knew that I had to score.” He expressed his eagerness to avoid the game going into penalties, saying, “It was the last play of the game and I wanted to score so we didn’t go to penalties.”
Messi also emphasized how crucial this win was, explaining, “It’s a new tournament and this victory is going to boost our confidence moving forward.” So, it seems Messi’s debut was not just thrilling for the fans, but also a promising start for Inter Miami in this new tournament.
This year, the Leagues Cup, a popular annual tournament involving teams from the MLS and Liga MX, grew bigger to include all teams from both leagues.
But then, Cruz Azul shook things up with an equalizer in the 65th minute, setting the stage for Messi’s stunning game-winning performance.
The tension mounted as Messi had several close calls. Then, in the 94th minute, Messi made magic, scoring the winning goal and ensuring his debut ended on a high note.
Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham was overjoyed with the outcome. Speaking to the Apple TV broadcast after the game, he said, “As soon as the free kick was awarded, I knew this was our chance to win, especially with players like Leo and Sergio (Busquets) on the field.”
Beckham gushed about how special the night was for everyone present, saying, “This is a significant moment for our country, the league, and a proud moment for us.”
It wasn’t just an ordinary crowd in the stands either. Among those who came to watch the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner were David Beckham, NBA star LeBron James, tennis ace Serena Williams, and Kim Kardashian.
Up next for Inter Miami is a Leagues Cup group stage match on Tuesday at home against Atlanta United from the MLS.