Argentinian football icon, Lionel Messi, set a new record after his side, Inter Miami, beat Nashville SC in an entertaining Leagues Cup final on Saturday that ended in a 1-1 draw but was settled by a marathon 10-9 penalty shootout.
The Argentine opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, notching his 10th goal of the inaugural tournament with a blistering shot from distance past multiple defenders and into the top left corner of the net.
Nashville got back on level terms as Fafa Picault scored the home team in the 57th minute and both teams came agonizingly close to taking the lead in the thrilling second half.
In the shootout, Nashville goalkeeper Elliot Panicco missed the final kick of the night to deliver Inter Miami, who joined the league in 2020, their first trophy.
Messi’s overjoyed teammates tossed the Argentine in the air as ecstatic Miami co-owner David Beckham shook his fists above his head in triumph.
Inter Miami goalkeeper, Drake Callender, who emerged as the man of the match after saving two penalties and converting his own said, “It’s a huge honour to play a role in our first win in a final.”
“It’s pretty surreal and very emotional. This team works so hard day in and day out, and to have it come down to the very end… it’s amazing to see the grit and the belief. It’s something special, and I’m blessed to be part of it.”
Miami has the worst record in MLS this season, but Messi’s arrival has ignited an offensive explosion, with the squad scoring 22 goals in their last seven games.
The trophy is Messi’s 44th, the most by any player. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was named player of the tournament, which includes teams from MLS and Liga MX.
The former Barcelona star’s other trophies include 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League wins, seven Copa Del Reys, eight Spanish Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, the FIFA World Cup, the Finalissima, the Copa America, an Olympic Gold, a U20 World Cup, two Ligue 1 titles and one Trophée de Champions.