Lionel Messi and his new team Inter Miami thrashed the Philadelphia Union, who are among the best teams in Major League Soccer, by a score of 4-1 during the Leagues Cup semifinal on Tuesday, August 15.
The match featured Messi scoring his ninth goal since arriving in the United States, which is made even more impressive by the fact that he’s racked up that many goals in just nine games.
His latest goal, scored in the 20th minute of Tuesday night’s match, saw Messi strike a low-driven shot into the bottom corner of Philly’s net from about 35+ yards out.
What can't he do?! 🐐
Make it NINE goals in six games for Leo Messi. pic.twitter.com/HLf3zBFTmV
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 15, 2023
And while it was obviously a perfectly placed shot from the greatest footballer of all time, the manner in which he was so easily able to beat three-time MLS keeper of the year Andre Blake had soccer fans wondering just how bad this league actually is.
Is Messi that good or is MLS that bad?
This man Messi in the MLS is like putting LeBron in the G League pic.twitter.com/dNLgvGsz38
— Ye Streams (@kanyestreams1) August 15, 2023
*Messi takes a shot*
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) August 16, 2023
I thought Messi was drunk when he chose Inter Miami being the weakest team in MLS, but I was wrong. He wanted to show us how good he is. GREATEST OF ALL TIME!
— BeksFCB (@Joshua_Ubeku) August 16, 2023
As a result of their beatdown of the Philadelphia Union in the semifinals, Messi and Inter Miami will take on Nashville in the Leagues Cup Final on Saturday, August 19.
Inter Miami then has a U.S. Open Cup semi-final match against FC Cincinnati on August 23 before the 36-year-old Argentine legend makes his official MLS league play debut on August 26 against the New York Red Bulls.
While Messi joining Major League Soccer has obviously been a coup for the league given the manner in which its profile has been instantaneously elevated, some concern over the extent to which Messi makes the competition seem amateurish could be brewing.
Messi scores on a 30 mph shot on the ground from 70 yards out.. we’re never beating the MLS defending allegations pic.twitter.com/3tot6G54zw
— MLS Buzz (@MLS_Buzz) August 15, 2023
By the time Messi is done with MLS, they will name the league after him.
Major League Messi😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ivYfsbqqhY
— DesmundOris (@Desmund_Oris) August 15, 2023
Lionel Messi is toying with the MLS and I am loving every single second of it…
— george (@StokeyyG2) August 15, 2023
Some fans, however, are taking the opposite stance and are suggesting that Messi has always been this dominant regardless of where he’s played.
Actually, Messi has always been this good
MLS players are bad // Messi in Europe 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/BbpQtfzT8E
— Elnani💙❤️ (@Elnani999) August 16, 2023
— The Tycoon 𝕏 (@Sal_Rossy) August 16, 2023
Widely regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time, Messi joined Inter Miami on a two-and-a-half-year contract with an option for a third in 2026. Prior to making his way to MLS, Messi spent the previous two seasons in France with Paris Saint-Germain and won the World Cup with Argentina last fall.
His halcyon days, of course, came with legendary Spanish club Barcelona, as Messi scored 474 in 520 appearances for the club and won 10 La Ligas, four Champions Leagues, and a record seven Ballon d’Ors (the final of which, however, came while he was playing with PSG).