Lionel Messi sure has a flair for the dramatic.
In his Major League Soccer debut, Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player of all time, scored the game-winning goal in extra time to give Inter Miami a 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul in the League Cup.
Messi started the game on the bench and entered in the 53rd minute to a standing ovation: several stars such as LeBron James, Kim Kardashian and Serena Williams attended.
He entered the game with his team up 1-0, but Cruz Azul scored to tie it. But Messi wanted to give a show to the fans.
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On a free kick just outside the box in the 94th minute, Messi’s legendary left foot went over the group of players that formed a wall in front of him and found the top left corner of the net.
And they all went crazy.
Ticket prices for Inter Miami games have skyrocketed since their decision to come to MLS. As of Tuesday morning, Messi’s firm added $10,671,923 in secondary market ticket value for Inter Miami CF’s remaining home games and a whopping $24,407,578 for its remaining away games, according to information acquired by TicketIQ.
It has been said that the team could play some of its games at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, simply because of the lawsuit it presents. For now, silver bleachers were added to the northeast and southeast corners of DRV PNK Stadium last week, increasing the capacity by about 3,000 seats and totaling about 21,000.
That will still leave him well short of the almost 100,000 seats at the Camp Nou, where Messi rose to international stardom.
Messi made the announcement that he would be coming to MLS last month.
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«After winning the World Cup And since I couldn’t return to Barcelona, it was my turn to go to the United States league to experience football in a different way and enjoy day to day more, obviously, with the same responsibility and desire to play well and do things well, as always, but in a calmer way,» Messi said last month.
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Messi, at 36, continues to play at an elite level, scoring 16 goals and 16 assists in 32 games for France’s Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 during the 2022-2023 season. He, too, has just won the World Cup with Argentina, having finally gotten the elusive hardware in his possession, which many believe solidifies his place as the greatest footballer to step foot on a pitch in history.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will be in South Florida through the 2025 season.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.