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Lionel Messi could not have asked for a better debut in Major League Soccer.
Messi’s potential debut for Inter Miami was undoubtedly the most anticipated match in MLS history.
So much so that it made watching the opening match of U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup campaign a questionable decision.
And those that decided to turn into the Inter Miami match against Cruz Azul were certainly not disappointed.
Messi didn’t start the match as initially expected, but entered a few minutes after halftime to a massive ovation.
With the match on the line in the 94th minute, Inter Miami won a free kick a few years outside the box.
Messi lined up to take it and with an absolutely beautiful strike, put it in the back of the net.
Crowd reaction was predictably wild, with team owner David Beckham visibly emotional on the sideline.
Hard to draw it up any better than that.
Messi Brings His Legendary Magic To MLS
This is exactly the start the league, Miami and Messi wanted to see.
While far from the level of competition he’s used to in European soccer, MLS has been gradually improving.
The arrival of arguably the greatest soccer player in history to the league at the tail end of his prime, fresh off winning the 2022 World Cup with Argentina, was a tremendous coup.
MLS is continuously trying to prove itself on the global stage, and getting Messi may prove a springboard to bigger and better things.
Scoring a goal in his debut, especially that goal, was exactly what the league was hoping for. MLS is now dominating conversation in the sports world, a position it almost never occupies.
And given Messi’s abilities, it’s likely to be the first of many nights where his magical abilities take center stage.