Lionel Messi scored twice and contributed an assist as Inter Miami crushed Atlanta United 4-0 in a wholly one-sided match in his first start for the team.
The 36-year-old Argentina star scored twice in the opening 22 minutes before helping out colleague Robert Taylor in the second half.
After scoring his second goal, Messi pointed at Inter-Miami owner David Beckham.
His effort last week followed a game-winning free kick in stoppage time during his debut.
He is capable of handling any situation. In a post-game interview, Taylor remarked, “He can keep it in confined situations, and he always chooses the right thing.” He’ll often locate one of his teammates.
“He contributes so much excellence to the team. He’s the best player in the world, in my opinion.
He scored two goals in the previous game and now has another assist. Playing with him is like living a dream.
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi signed with the Major League Soccer team when his contract with Paris St. Germain expired, but he didn’t start practicing with his teammates until last week.
The 2022 World Cup winner spent two years with the French champions, scoring 32 goals in 75 games while turning down substantial offers to play in the US from other countries.
Messi converted a rebound of his own shot to score the game’s opening goal in the ninth minute after handling a feed over the top from fellow newcomer and former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets.
Thirteen minutes later, he extended the lead by combining with Taylor of Finland’s midfield to bury a low cross at the near post.
Taylor added a fourth before the break, and Messi completed the scoring by sending the 28-year-old through on a burst in the second half.
Standing ovations greeted Messi’s substitution in the 78th minute, and many spectators left the 20,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium shortly after.
Inter Miami advanced to the League Cup knockout rounds with the victory.
Miami tops their group after two wins in the League Cup, a competition that features all of the top teams from the MLS and Liga MX in Mexico. With their new addition appearing to settle so quickly, Miami will undoubtedly think they can win their first-ever title.
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