Messi scores two goals against Atlanta United in first Inter Miami start

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF shoots the ball against Miles Robinson #12 of Atlanta United in the first half during the Leagues Cup 2023 match between Inter Miami CF and Atlanta United at DRV PNK Stadium on July 25, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. — AFP
Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF shoots the ball against Miles Robinson #12 of Atlanta United in the first half during the Leagues Cup 2023 match between Inter Miami CF and Atlanta United at DRV PNK Stadium on July 25, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. — AFP

Lionel Messi provided an assist in his first start for the Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami as he scored two goals leading to 4-0 victory against Atlanta United in a Leagues Cup match early Wednesday at the DRV PNK Stadium, Florida.

It did not take the Argentine long to leave his mark in American football.

Miami had just won once in their last ten matches and it all seemed like a dead-end for the MLS club but Messi’s arrival brought a change in fortunes for them as they thrashed Atlanta by four goals.

Messi, 36, gave his team an early breakthrough by scoring a goal in just the eighth minute after a fantastic lobbed pass from his teammate Sergio Busquets.

That was not it for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, he completed his brace in just the 22nd minute after scoring with another brilliant finish with his weak foot on Robert Taylor’s assist.

As if that was not enough, the 2022 World Cup winner also registered his first assist with Miami. Messi ran half of the pitch with the ball at his feet on the counter and assisted Taylor who also scored his brace with the Argentine’s assist.

Before Leo’s arrival, Miami had never won a game by a four-goal lead in their history but it seems like Messi is there to do what he usually does, creating history.

After completing the job, the 36-year-old left the pitch with fans on their feet applauding the greatness of the player from Rosario.

He is yet to play his first full 90 minutes in America but has already notched up three goals and set up an assist.

“He is the best player in the world. This is what he does,” said teammate Taylor afterwards in an interview with Apple TV. “It’s a dream come true to play with him.”

On July 21, Messi made his debut for Inter Miami and made an instant impact after coming on as a 54th-minute substitute against Mexican club Cruz Azul.

The 36-year-old footballer notched up a stoppage-time winner as his free kick sailed into the top left corner from 25 yards from goal in the dying seconds of the match to send the crowd into delirium.

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