Lionel Messi signed new contract with MLS Club Inter Miami

Lionel Messi made an impressive impact in his first start for Inter Miami CF as they secured a convincing 4-0 victory over Atlanta United at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The match marked the first time Messi and his former Barcelona teammate, Sergio Busquets, were in the starting lineup together for the MLS side since joining.

In the eighth minute of the game, Busquets delivered a perfectly lofted ball over Atlanta’s defense to Messi, who initially missed his shot but quickly capitalized on the rebound, giving Miami a 1-0 lead. In the 22nd minute, Messi struck again, this time on a counterattack with an assist from Robert Taylor, extending Miami’s advantage to 2-0. Taylor went on to score Miami’s third goal before halftime, with Messi providing the assist for a 3-0 lead at the break.

In the second half, Taylor found the back of the net once more, this time with an assist from Messi. The Argentine star was substituted in the 78th minute, receiving an enthusiastic ovation from the home crowd, while Busquets left the game six minutes earlier and was replaced by Victor Ulloa.

Miami’s manager, Gerardo Martino, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, praising the players for making the fans happy and taking another step in the right direction. With this victory, Miami secured a place in the round of 32 in the Leagues Cup, where they will host an opponent to be determined.

Messi’s goal against Atlanta made them the 100th club he has scored against in his illustrious career. Having spent 13 years together at Barcelona, Messi and Busquets have maintained a close friendship since the Argentine’s move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021. Busquets spoke highly of playing with Messi, describing it as easy due to their long history together on the field.

Martino, who coached both Messi and Busquets during his time at Barcelona, was not surprised by their connection for the opening goal, emphasizing their ability to create space on the field. Their presence in the team has brought about positive changes, and their influence has instilled greater confidence in their teammates, while also intimidating opponents.

As for the fans’ reaction to Messi’s substitution, Martino acknowledged that many come to see the global star play, but he hopes they would also stay to support the rest of the team until the end of the match.

Messi’s arrival at Miami has garnered immense attention and excitement, with his sensational free-kick goal in the previous match sealing a 2-1 win for the team. The upcoming MLS game against Charlotte on August 20 could see Messi make his official debut for Inter Miami. However, fellow former Barcelona player Jordi Alba will have to wait for his debut as he was not included in the squad list for the match against Atlanta.

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