The anticipation was palpable as Lionel Messi, finally graced the MLS stage as a player for Inter Miami CF. With cheers and excitement echoing through the DRV PNK Stadium, the world’s number ten became their number ten – and he did not disappoint. In his long-awaited debut, Messi showcased his brilliance, weaving his magic alongside fellow stars Josef Martínez and Sergio Busquets, to secure a thrilling victory against Cruz Azul in their Leagues Cup 2023 opener.
A Mesmerizing Show on the MLS Stage
From the moment he stepped onto the pitch, it was evident that Messi was eager to make an instant impact. The 36-year-old demonstrated his trademark skills, dazzling fans with his intricate turns, bursts of speed, and innate ability to spot a pass. It was as if he had been part of the Inter Miami squad for years rather than moments.
Notably, Messi‘s chemistry with Spanish midfield legend Sergio Busquets was still intact despite their two-year separation since their time at Barcelona. Their partnership rekindled a sense of stability in the team’s midfield, providing a solid foundation for launching several attacks against a resilient Cruz Azul side.
Truly, the moment of Messi‘s debut reached its climax when Inter Miami was awarded a decisive free-kick, just 25 yards from the goal. With seconds remaining on the clock and the match on the brink of heading into a penalty shoot-out, destiny seemed to conspire in his favor. It was a script too perfect not to come true.
Stepping up to take the free-kick, Messi exuded his trademark calmness, and with precision, he curled the ball into the top-left corner of the net, sealing victory for Inter Miami. The DRV PNK Stadium erupted in a cacophony of cheers and jubilation, while millions of soccer fans worldwide celebrated the magical moment.
Messi’s debut transcended mere sporting significance; it was a historical event in the world of soccer. The icon’s decision to ply his trade in North American soccer sent ripples across the globe, drawing attention to the MLS like never before. David Beckham made his LA Galaxy debut 16 years earlier to the day, and it was fitting that Lionel Messi would follow in his footsteps for a team owned by the former Manchester United legend.