Lionel Messi didn’t miss his appearance with Inter Miami CF and scored the winning goal in stoppage time as his side won 2-1 against Mexican club Cruz Azul in a League Cup duel at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
Messi took advantage of a free kick in the 94th minute to unleash a powerful shot that beat Cruz Azul goalkeeper Andres Gudino.
Not being a starter for this clash, the 36-year-old stepped onto the lawn of his new home for the first time in the 54th minute of play.
He received lots of applause from the crowd and donned the captain’s armband for his team.
Sergio Busquets also made his debut for the Florida outfit on Friday. He wasn’t in the starting lineup, but he entered at the same time as Messi.
Miami left winger Robert Taylor scored the game’s first goal in the 44th minute.
Minutes after Messi’s first strides in his new uniform, Cruz Azul winger Uriel Antuna leveled the score in the 65th minute.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner, given to the best player in the world, was presented to supporters at Inter Miami CF last weekend. Moreover, he took part in his first practice with his new team on Tuesday.
The club had announced that his contract would be for two seasons plus an option year. The Argentinian will receive between $50 and $60 million annually and he will also have shares in the concession.
The Miami team are certainly hoping that Messi’s arrival will allow them to rack up the wins by the end of the season. So far, they boast a 5-14-3 record in Major League Soccer. They also sit last in the Eastern Conference standings on the Garber Tour, with a meager 18 points.