A stunning goal from Messi gives Inter Miami the win in the Argentine’s debut in the United States

In the happy end of Hollywood, the romance between the city of Miami and the new star of the football team is completed. Lionel Messi arrived after six weeks of courtship And promises of eternal love with a wonderful goal from a free kick in the last breath of the match that Inter Miami and Cruz Azul, Mexico, faced on Friday evening. That genius alone, highlighted by a volley of pink fireworks, was enough to give victory to his team (2-1) and for the Argentine star to illustrate what they made him do in this forgotten corner of world football.

It was the 94th minute of an intense game, with the score at 1-1, and some of the 22,000 fans who didn’t want to miss the premiere of their team’s new era decided it was a good idea to get out of the stadium to avoid the traffic, Perhaps without knowing the rules of the League Cup, North American club competition requires a penalty shootout in the event of a tie. It is not necessary. Messi fell to the ground, a victim of a mistake by the Mexicans. He picked up the ball and fiddled with it with one of his half-smiles, and suddenly it was clear what was going to happen. Send it directly to the band.

“I simply saw the goal,” said the striker at the end of the match. “I saw it, and I knew I had to tag along.”

Euphoria took over the stands of DNV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, 40 kilometers north of Miami where the team plays during the construction of a new stadium, and spontaneously tried to jump onto the field and everyone at home, the managers, the fans, the players and a good portion of the 200 world journalists accredited for the match, So is Messi himselfThey breathed with relief. Even sporting director David Beckham shed tears.

Inter’s new ten, who until then had been cheering even for his style off the bench, took to the field eight minutes into the second half. He did it with another big signing of the season: Sergio Busquets. During the week, the club has already made it clear that it will not start, that the bodies of the legendary players are in decline, and at the end of each of the difficult season in Europe, they are not there because of the dangerous bragging.

Messi scores from a free kick against Mexico’s Cruz Azul, on 21 July.Cristóbal Herrera-Olaskewicz (EFE)

In the end, Coach Gerardo stammer Martino, Another newcomer to Miami, put them to the test sooner than they seem. The first fusion of the two was enough to send a burst of electricity across the field, and when he was seen on the field in the last 53 minutes, it looks like something else; Similar to soccer, yes, but something else.

Mexican supremacy

The match began with the apparent dominance of Cruz Azul, who missed opportunity after chance, while local fans devoted themselves to the sport of spotting celebrities (LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian or singer Becky G, who sang the American anthem to the nines) seemed to morph into a genre that spoke only one language: “Messi! Messi!”

Finland’s Inter player Robert Taylor converted in the 43rd minute the only chance the locals had in the first half. He did it from the left with his right hand, which touched the pole and was about not to enter. This was the team’s first shot on goal.

With Messi, Busquets and Josef Martinez, Inter’s third ‘designated player’ – a category reserved under MLS (Major League Soccer) rules for the three to whom the competition’s salary cap does not apply to the rest of the athletes – domestic prospects have improved. Every now and then, the Argentine slipped with amazing ease between Cruz Azul’s lines, on several occasions thwarted by offsides. Busquets had a hard time finding his voice in the game.

Sergio Busquets, making his Inter Miami debut.
Sergio Busquets, making his Inter Miami debut.Marco Bello (Reuters)

And in these, the Mexicans achieved what they deserved for a while. That was in the 64th minute, with a goal from striker Uriel Antona, who received a pass inside the area, which was hit hard at first by Callender’s hand and then into the net.

When everything was for the worst, the second Inter arrived. With him, there was a feeling that he had begun The poet between Miami and Messi on the right foot, who signed a contract for two and a half seasons, at a rate of between $50 and $60 million a year plus a future involvement with the club upon his retirement and a portion of the TV rights, owned by Apple TV. A fee will also be charged for the sale of sports equipment, and that seems like a rounded business these days in South Florida: T-shirts, both dressy and pirate, have become ubiquitous, making Miami the only place in the US where pink Friday isn’t synonymous with fever at a movie premiere. Barbie.

The newly launched meeting between the city and the player will set its second date on Tuesday, when Inter will face Atlanta United at home in another League Cup match, a team that helped Martino win the league title in 2018. In that competition, which was suspended in the United States until the end of August, Inter were bottom of the eastern standings. Mathematically, it is still possible for them to achieve qualifiers. It won’t be easy, but, as his debut showed, that’s exactly why Messi was brought to this forgotten corner of world football: to make it look easy.

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