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Lionel Messi’s First MLS Season: A Journey of Triumphs and Tribulations

Lionel Messi, often referred to as one of the greatest footballers of all time, saw the curtain fall on his debut Major League Soccer (MLS) season with Inter Miami in a rather unexpected fashion. Despite an enchanting start to his journey with the club, Messi’s first season came to a close with a 1-0 defeat against Charlotte FC at the Bank of America Stadium on a fateful Saturday.

A Season of Highs and Lows

Messi’s arrival in the MLS created quite a stir, and it wasn’t without reason. His move to Inter Miami marked the beginning of a captivating story, which included a club-record 12-game unbeaten streak and the addition of the Leagues Cup to the club’s trophy cabinet. However, the season concluded on a disheartening note, with a streak of seven winless matches, during which Messi was sidelined for some due to injuries.

Missed Opportunities and Mixed Fortunes

The season began with aspirations of contending in multiple competitions. As head coach Gerardo Martino remarked, “When we arrived, we had two competitions in which we had the potential to compete well: the Leagues Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. We were also involved in a tournament where we were in a complicated situation.” Martino, who joined the club in June, guided the team from the bottom of their conference standings to a much-improved state, winning the Leagues Cup in the process. He stated, “Out of the three tournaments, one was won by Inter Miami. If, at the time of signing, you had told me that we were going to win one of the three tournaments, I would have certainly signed with my eyes closed.”

A Spectacle to Remember

The final game of the season was a spectacle to behold. A remarkable 66,101 fans filled the stadium, with many undoubtedly eager to witness the magic of Messi on the field. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and global football icon captained Inter Miami, playing the entire match. He came agonizingly close to scoring, with a curling free kick that rattled the crossbar in the 62nd minute. However, an offside decision disallowed his goal early in the second half.

End of the Road

Inter Miami’s season concluded with a 14th-place finish out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, amassing 34 points. Messi’s debut season statistics tell a different story, with an impressive 11 goals scored in 14 games.

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