Messi aims to end magical month with Miami’s first trophy
NASHVILLE, United States, (AFP) – Lionel Messi could clinch his first trophy with Inter Miami, just four weeks after making his debut for the club, when his team face Nashville in the final of the Leagues Cup in Tennessee on Saturday.
The Argentine World Cup winner has had a transformative impact on the club, scoring nine goals in six games, as they have marched through the new summer tournament, which also includes Mexican Liga MX clubs.
Now he has the chance to quickly get some American silverware to add to the huge collection of trophies he has gathered with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and the Argentine national team.
“It would be great, incredible for me, for the fans, and for the club itself. The club is trying to grow and investing a lot, with major changes to put together a team, and winning titles helps a lot,” Messi said.
“It’s a very young club…it would be beautiful for everyone,” he added.
With a goal from Messi in every game and open, attacking football from Miami, the seven-times Ballon d’Or winner has turned a competition which could have been a mid-season curiosity into must-watch action for broadcasters Apple TV.
He has also inspired a turnaround in fortunes for Miami which has been faster and more impactful than even the most optimistic Miami fan expected.
When Messi arrived in South Florida he joined a club rooted to the bottom of the standings in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and with the worst record of any of the 29 clubs in the league.
But with the Spanish pair of former Barcelona team-mates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba also joining him at the club, Miami have been unstoppable.
Only once in the six games in the tournament did Miami fail to win — a comeback 4-4 draw at Dallas which ended in victory after a penalty shoot-out.
In the semi-final, the team showed just how radically they have improved, by winning 4-1 at Philadelphia, last season’s MLS runners-up who had been unbeaten at home in their last 15 games.