All eyes were on Lionel Messi at the start of tonight’s Leagues Cup 2023 final between Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC, and the Argentine duly delivered early on in the game.
After a relatively quiet first 25 minutes, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner stepped up to break the deadlock in favour of the Florida outfit. The ball would fall to a marker-free Messi outside the box, and after skipping past a defender the number ten sent a curling shot into the top corner to make it 1-0. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
The former Barcelona man is now on an impressive ten goals in seven matches since his debut with Inter Miami CF last month - making him the team’s overall top scorer across the entire campaign.
His strike against the Philadelphia Union in the semi-finals had seen Messi draw level with Josef Martínez’s tally of nine across all competitions. Trailing the attacking pair is the in-form Robert Taylor, who has found the net six times, while Leonardo Campana follows on four goals for the campaign.
It wasn’t straightforward in the end, but Inter Miami CF managed to clinch their first-ever trophy at this Saturday’s Leagues Cup final. Messi’s final contribution of the tournament would see him score the first penalty in the shoot-out - setting the tone for an 11-round epic that culminated in Drake Callender’s save from fellow goalkeeper Elliot Panicco.
With much of the MLS regular season still to play, Lionel Messi will be looking to continue his transformative impact on his new team, as he looks to lift Inter Miami off the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Should Messi carry over his flurry of goals into the autumn, Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s men could be in with a chance at making the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.