Magnificent Messi Makes Marvellous Miami Debut with Stunning Free-Kick Winner!

By Real11 - Jul 22 2023 212 Views

Lionel Messi Lights Up Inter Miami Debut with Last-Minute Free-Kick Winner

In what can only be described as a fairytale start to his Inter Miami journey, Lionel Messi made an indelible mark on his debut for the MLS side. Stepping onto the field as a substitute, the legendary footballer sent the sold-out DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida into raptures with a mesmerizing free-kick goal in stoppage time. The goal sealed a thrilling 2-1 victory for Inter Miami over Mexican powerhouse Cruz Azul in the highly anticipated Leagues Cup clash on Friday.

The much-anticipated match had long been earmarked for Messi's debut after his blockbuster move to Inter Miami on a free transfer. The Argentine maestro had signed a lucrative 2½-year contract with the club, which will see him earn a staggering annual salary between $50 million and $60 million.

Although there were doubts about Messi's fitness level, considering his recent return from vacation after the conclusion of the European club season, manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino took the chance to introduce him, along with fellow former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets, in the 54th minute. The crowd of approximately 21,000 erupted in thunderous applause as the two stars took to the pitch.

Jordi Alba, another former Barcelona player who joined Inter Miami this summer, was not included in the squad for this particular match due to his signing confirmation occurring just the day before.

Prior to the game, Messi had been presented to his new home fans on Sunday, and he trained with the team for the first time on Tuesday. Arriving at the stadium a couple of hours before kick-off, the Argentine icon donned the team's colors, sporting a pink T-shirt and black shorts, and took time to pose for photos and greet fans before heading to the locker room.

On his way to the bench, Messi crossed paths with NBA legend LeBron James, who, like Messi, had made a highly celebrated move to Miami and enjoyed immense success with the Miami Heat, winning two NBA titles during his four-year stay.

The atmosphere at the DRV PNK Stadium was nothing short of electrifying, with Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham personally capturing the excitement on his phone as he scanned the bustling stands. The team store was stocked with Messi jerseys, and entrepreneurial vendors were selling unofficial versions of the iconic shirt outside the venue.

The event also brought together other sports and entertainment legends, with Serena Williams and LeBron James - both considered GOATs (Greatest of All Time) in their respective domains - gracing the occasion. Music icons Gloria and Emilio Estefan were also in attendance, alongside reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who mentioned that her son was thrilled to witness the footballing genius in action.

Despite Inter Miami currently enduring a challenging season with the worst record in MLS, the Leagues Cup - now revamped to feature every MLS and Liga MX team - offers Messi and his teammates a golden opportunity to claim immediate silverware and secure one of three coveted places in next season's Concacaf Champions League.

As Lionel Messi's era at Inter Miami commences, the anticipation for the club's future matches has reached an all-time high. With their new talisman on board, fans and football enthusiasts alike eagerly await a new chapter in the story of one of the sport's greatest players of all time.

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