The first campaign of Lionel Messi with the MLS team Inter Miami has quietly ended.
Messi played the entire match in Charlotte FC’s 1-0 victory at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. A goal was disallowed because he was offside, and a free kick was deflected off the crossbar.
Messi was competitive, focused, and running hard as if the game meant something. This was Messi’s first time playing in the black “La Noche” Inter Miami jersey since joining the team in late July. Still, it wasn’t.
In order for Charlotte to go to the MLS postseason, Kerwin Vargas scored in the 13th minute, Inter Miami had two goals disallowed due to offsides penalties, and goalie Kristijan Kahlina stopped two efforts in the last minutes: a header from Leo Campana that he stopped with his fingertips and a corner kick from Messi.
Messi was spared from playing. Earlier this month, Inter Miami was eliminated from the postseason. And after recovering from an injury in September, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and 2022 World Cup champion with Argentina may have been able to maintain his health.
Messi insisted on ruining Inter Miami’s season after scoring in the 32nd and 42nd minutes of Argentina’s 2-0 victory against Peru on Tuesday night in a 2026 World Cup qualifying match. Messi looked amazing.
For the first time, Messi played in the Major League Soccer on turf rather of real grass. In addition, Inter Miami made use of its last road game of the season to assess its lineup before a protracted offseason that may include two friendlies in China in early November as well as additional roster reconstruction.
Messi and Inter Miami travel to China for games against Chengdu Rongcheng on November 8 and Qingdao Hainiu F.C. on November 5. Additionally, on November 16 and November 21, he will play for Argentina again against Uruguay and Brazil, respectively.
Messi has fully healed from the right leg injury that kept him out of last month’s games in Atlanta, Orlando, and Chicago. Six Inter Miami games, including the team’s defeat to Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup final, saw him sit out of action.
In 14 games, Messi netted 11 goals and provided five assists for Inter Miami, which is owned by David Beckham, Jorge, and Jose Mas. However, the team’s season ended without a victory in its final seven games.
In addition to Messi’s Inter Miami jerseys becoming the best-selling jersey in the MLS, Apple TV has profited from airing MLS games. Inter Miami also won the Leagues Cup event in August.
“I would have signed with my eyes closed if you had told me at the time of signing that we were going to win one of the three tournaments,” Inter Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said in reference to the Leagues Cup, U.S. Open Cup, and MLS postseason.
Although the Messi era’s first season finished quietly, it was unquestionably a huge success.