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Messi scores injury-time free kick in Inter Miami debut

Lionel Messi made a spectacular debut for Inter Miami as he scored an injury-time free kick goal to help his side win 2-1 against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.

The World Cup winner was introduced after the break to make his debut at the sold-out DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Friday. 

Miami were 1-0 ahead at the time of his introduction, but Uriel Antuna’s 65th-minute strike threatened to spoil the party.

But Messi won a free-kick on the edge of the box in stoppage time and curled a stunning winner into the top corner. 

The victory ended the Herons’ six-match winless run that included heavy defeats at the hands of Philadelphia and St Louis. 

Miami have endured a disappointing 2023 campaign in Major League Soccer, winning just five of their 22 matches to slump to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

But they have received a considerable boost with Messi’s arrival, with the Argentine superstar making a significant impact on his debut. 

Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have also joined the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner in Miami to help the club make a comeback in the second half of the season. 

The 36-year-old ended his two-year stint at Paris Saint-Germain to join Miami in a lucrative deal that will see him earn between $50-60 million annually. 

He was also linked with a return to Barcelona, but the La Liga giants failed to secure a deal due to their financial issues. 

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