When Inter Miami signed Lionel Messi, their trophy cupboard was bare. The MLS franchise, in just its fourth year of operation, had yet to hoist a trophy aloft.
Just weeks after adding Messi, they now have a title to their name.
Inter Miami topped Nashville on Saturday night in the Final of the Leagues Cup, giving the Miami-based franchise its first title.
For Messi, it is certainly not his first trophy, and with the way he has played since joining Inter Miami, it is likely not his last.
Inter Miami scored first, and as you might expect, it was another incredible strike from the living legend:
As you can see, Messi was streaking downfield and calling for the ball near the top of the box. Teammate Robert Taylor found Messi with a pass, and from there the legendary forward deftly avoided pressure, before rocketing a left-footed shot to the upper-left corner for the goal.
The score remained 1-0 Inter Miami at the halftime break, with Messi’s strike the difference. This was despite Nashville outshooting Inter Miami 5-2, and having an Expected Goals (xG) of 0.30 to just 0.06 for Messi and company.
Nashville had a chance early in the second half, but a right-footed attempt from Fafá Picault was high and off the mark.
Their next chance, however, was right on the mark. After Inter Miami conceded a corner in the 57th minute, Picault capitalized with a close header off the corner that ricocheted off keeper Drake Callender, and into the net.
It would go into the scoring sheet as an own-goal from Callender.
In the 71st minute, Messi came within inches of a brace. A quick run to the top of the box was followed by a left-footed strike, which just struck the woodwork, keeping the match knotted at one apiece.
Regulation time ended with the match still tied at 1-1, and it came down to penalties. Messi converted the first for Inter Miami, but the matter was not settled until the 11th round of kicks.
That’s when Callender himself stepped to the spot and converted for Inter Miami. Then he stood on the line and awaited the effort from Elliot Panicco.
Callender turned that shot aside, touching off the celebration:
With the victory, not only does Inter Miami have their first trophy, but Messi has the 44th title of his legendary career, passing his former teammate Dani Alves, who won 43:
The title also capped off an incredible run for Messi in the Leagues Cup:
One can only imagine what he has in store for the rest of the MLS season.