In what has been hailed as one of the most significant moments in US football history, Lionel Messi’s debut for Inter Miami was nothing short of spectacular. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner scored a last-second winner with a curling free-kick in his debut game against Mexican club Cruz Azul, sending the crowd into a frenzy and leaving a host of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Serena Williams, stunned.
The match, held at Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium, was at a standstill with a 1-1 score deep into the fourth minute of stoppage time. Messi, however, won a free-kick just outside the box, in perfect range for his famous left foot. The Argentine World Cup winner delivered a perfect shot high to the keeper’s right and into the top corner, securing a 2-1 triumph for Inter Miami.
The crowd of 20,000 went wild, with some fans even running onto the field before being apprehended by security. Among the spectators was reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who was at the game to support her son, Saint West, a soccer enthusiast. However, Kardashian seemed to miss the moment of Messi’s goal, leading to some teasing online. Despite this, Saint managed to capture the magical moment on his phone and even scored a signed Messi jersey after the game.
Tennis icon Serena Williams was also present at the game, and her jaw-dropped reaction to Messi’s goal was captured on camera. NBA legend LeBron James, who was also in the stands, took to Twitter to express his awe, writing “INCREDIBLE!!!!” alongside a video of Messi’s goal.
Inter Miami co-owner and former England star David Beckham was visibly emotional after Messi’s goal. The footage showed Beckham celebrating and looking overcome with emotion as he took in the reality of Messi playing for his club. Beckham’s children, Cruz and Harper, also watched the game from the sidelines, with Beckham embracing his daughter after Messi’s winner.
Messi’s debut has been seen as a transformative moment for American soccer. The former Barcelona star’s arrival is hoped to push the sport into the American mainstream. If Messi’s debut was any guide, the former Barcelona star still has plenty to offer, and his performance ensured that Beckham had a broad grin at the final whistle.
Despite Inter Miami’s struggles in the Major League Soccer, Messi’s debut victory was a much-needed boost. “It is a huge joy to get this first victory after how we have done in the league,” Messi said. “It is important to start winning, beyond the fact that it is another championship, for confidence it is very good to get victories.”
With Messi’s debut setting the tone, the future of Inter Miami and Major League Soccer looks promising. The star’s performance left a lasting impression not just on the fans, but also on the celebrities present, marking a memorable start to his American adventure.