Lionel Messi continued his impressive run with Inter Miami, scoring his ninth goal for the club in a Leagues Cup semifinal against the Philadelphia Union. Inter Miami secured a spot in their first major final in club history with a 4-1 victory in Chester, Pa. Since joining Miami last month, all of Messi’s goals have come in the Leagues Cup, a tournament involving 47 teams from Major League Soccer and Liga MX.
In the match against Philadelphia Union, Josef Martinez opened the scoring with his third goal of the tournament. Messi’s former FC Barcelona teammate, Jordi Alba, also contributed with his first goal for Inter Miami before halftime. David Ruis added another goal late in the game, further solidifying Miami’s dominance in the tournament where they’ve outscored their opponents 21-7 over six matches.
Philadelphia Union managed to pull back a late goal through Alejandro Bedoya, but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome. The Union, who have faced disappointments in various knockout competitions, once again fell short of securing a title. This adds to their previous losses in the MLS Cup final, CONCACAF Champions League, and U.S. Open Cup finals in recent years.
Contrary to expectations, Messi’s performance in this match was not his most challenging test since arriving in the United States. Inter Miami took control from the beginning, with Martinez’s early goal setting the tone. Messi scored his second goal of the match with another exceptional long-range shot, showcasing his skill beyond free kicks. Alba’s goal just before halftime sealed the fate of the match.
Looking ahead, Messi aims to reach double digits in goals as he prepares for the final against either Nashville SC or CF Monterrey, who were scheduled to play their semifinal match later on the same day.
Lionel Messi, the recipient of seven Ballon d’Or awards, made a triumphant return to Paris after leading his national team to victory in the World Cup last year. His arrival was met with a guard of honor from players and lighthearted banter with former Barcelona colleague Neymar. However, the situation took a turn for the worse.
The 36-year-old faced a distressing reception from the fans at Paris Saint-Germain, his own club. The spectators showered him with boos and negative remarks each time he touched the ball, escalating during his corner kicks. But that chapter has concluded.
Messi now dons a new jersey and plays for a different team, greeted by an arena full of supporters chanting his name as he showcases his brilliance on the field with effortless skill. He has rediscovered his goal-scoring form, and his characteristic smile has replaced the previously perplexed frown. Recently, the Argentine icon held his first media interaction since joining Inter Miami, his new Major League Soccer side.
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