Lionel Messi began his Inter Miami career with a bang as the Argentinian magician ended his debut with a stunning free-kick winner against Cruz Azul deep in stoppage time.
Seven months on from lifting the World Cup, the eyes of the footballing world were trained on Florida as the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner made his eagerly anticipated first appearance.
After Robert Taylor’s excellent opener was cancelled out by Uriel Antuna, the 36-year-old struck at the death to send DRV PNK Stadium delirious and seal an unforgettable 2-1 Leagues Cup win.
“What I saw was the goal,” Messi said in an on-field interview amid the post-game celebrations. “I saw the goal. I knew that I had to score.
“It was the last play of the game and I wanted to score so I didn’t go to penalties.”
Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino, who managed Messi at Barcelona, said: “It’s a movie that we have seen before.
It was the dream end to an evening that attracted fans of all ages in ‘Messi 10’ shirts, with stars like LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian and, of course, Inter Miami owner David Beckham among those in the sold-out, expectant crowd.