Lionel Messi has joined Inter Miami to take them to the top of the MLS and he can also set some more records in the way. The 36-year-old six-time Ballon d’Or winner was officially presented as a new player for the American club on Sunday, July 16 in front of thousands of fans.
He seemed to be quite overwhelmed with the level of supporters in the USA and even met with Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham for a little interaction. In his presentation, Messi gave a short yet sweet message to the fans, saying: “I want to thank the Miami fans since I arrived here. I feel your love and support. I am eager to start training and playing. I came with the same desire as always.”
Messi seems to be determined to provide joy to the Inter Miami fans by taking the club to the MLS title in the course of his three-year stay. The World Cup winner will be more than aware of how all eyes will be on him during Miami’s games and how his introduction will result in a huge spike in the MLS viewership numbers.
What record can Lionel Messi break at Inter Miami?
Even though he might not be playing in Europe anymore, Messi will aim to conquer the North American football scene. He’ll have to do a lot of work to get Inter Miami to competing for the MLS title, with the club currently lingering at the very bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference table.
The 36-year-old needs to score and assist a lot of goals to help his new side win games consistently and compete for MLS titles in the next few seasons. One particular realistic record he will probably be eyeing to claim will be that of the top scorer in Inter Miami’s (short) history.
How many goals must Messi score to become Inter Miami’s all-time top scorer?
Inter Miami was only established in 2016 and started playing in the MLS from the 2020 season. The current number holding their all-time top scorer is 29, so Messi will need to score at least 30 goals to claim this impressive achievement. If able to do so, he’ll surpass the feat initially set by his former Argentina teammate Gonzalo Higuain.
The ex-Real Madrid striker joined Inter Miami in 2020 and played for them until 2022. He scored one goal in the 2020 season in nine games, but improved a lot after that – scoring 12 in the 2021 season and 16 in the 2022 campaign. While Leo won’t be able to play that many games in the 2023 seasons, he’s likely to feature heavily in the 2024 and 2025 seasons at least.
Scoring 30 goals in two campaigns shouldn’t be that problematic for Leo. In his last 17 league campaigns for Barcelona and PSG, he hit the double-digit goal mark on 16 occasions. Last season itself, Leo scored 16 in Ligue 1 for PSG. The MLS is considerably less challenging than the Ligue 1 or La Liga, nor does it have as much quality as the teams in the European competitions.
As a result, it’s safe to assume that Messi should be able to break this record within the next two seasons. If he can really find his groove and opt to become the main goal-scorer for Inter Miami over an all-round creative figure, then he could even hit 30 goals in the MLS next season itself!
In doing so, Leo can get some discreet revenge on Higuain – who let him down in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final by missing a clear-cut chance against Germany. Messi was awarded the Best Player of the Tournament award for dragging Argentina to the final in that edition but missed out because his teammate wasn’t clinical enough.
Of course, he isn’t rumoured to be harbouring any ill-feelings for Higuain and ultimately won the World Cup last year anyways. But knowing Leo’s hunger for records, he’ll be intent on becoming Inter Miami’s all-time top scorer soon and help them compete strongly in the MLS.