Lionel Messi made his Inter Miami debut on Friday (July 21st) against Mexico’s Cruz Azul, in a Leagues Cup Match that ended with a 2-1 Inter Miami win complete with fireworks and a crowd that was cheering him and the team on during his debut MLS game.
The Argentinian, who did not start the game, entered the match in the 54th minute and proved to be the difference maker as he scored a last-minute goal to give his team the much-needed win.
But the crowd was excited from the beginning, with fans unfurling a banner that read “Bienvenido a La Familia,” or “Welcome to the Family” in the tenth minute of the game – long before Messi was even on the field. They had flags, their new pink jerseys, and even Argentina jerseys.
When it came to the winning goal, fans all over the stadium caught it from all angles, including when Messi jumped into his new teammates’ arms in celebration, the fireworks that followed, and when he went over to his own family to hug them after the win.
Even the celebrities who came to watch were up and celebrating. This includes Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian, and Victoria Beckham.
Even Lebron James and Becky G were there to commemorate this moment.
Let’s not forget Marc Anthony was there too.
As for Beckham, his looking as excited as he did when Messi scored the goal that secured Inter Miami’s win wasn’t just about the goal itself. It was the reaffirmation he needed that the Inter Miami project and team as a whole made the right move when it came to bringing Messi to the United States, especially with what their partners Adidas and Apple have done to help grow fútbol’s presence in the United States.
And with a goal such as this one to secure the win, Inter Miami fans can celebrate not just Messi, but a team that looks like it has a way to go, but now has the tools to not just compete, but go toe-to-toe with the biggest teams in the region.
Fans waited a long time to see Lionel Messi, and from the crowd reaction before, during, and after the game, it was all worth it. And the good news for them it’s that it’s just the beginning of his time in the US and of a new era of fútbol in a country where the sport has never quite gotten the love it has gotten everywhere else in the world.