As seen by Sunday’s Major League Soccer match between Inter Miami and Los Angeles FC, no athlete draws an A-list audience quite like Lionel Messi.
A plethora of well-known figures, including rapper Tyga, actor and musician Selena Gomez, actor and musician Will Ferrell, Hollywood luminaries Leonardo DiCaprio, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, and Prince Harry, observed Miami’s 3-1 triumph in California from the stands.
The illustrious crowd was evidence of Messi’s continued influence on American soccer. Since the Argentinian’s arrival, demand for Miami tickets has increased dramatically. According to internet marketplace TickPick, the average price of Sunday’s match is almost $690, making it the most expensive MLS game ever.
Messi is making a significant contribution both on and off the field since leaving Paris Saint-Germain. Prior to the 36-year-old’s debut, Miami had a nine-game losing streak. However, it is currently unbeaten in 11 games and won its first title last month.
The latest victory in Miami’s remarkable comeback, which has also been spurred by the signing of Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets, came against the reigning MLS Cup champion LAFC.
However, Jordi Alba, a different former Barcelona player, was responsible for one of Miami’s three goals on Sunday. Even though LAFC controlled the first half of the match, Facundo Farías gave the visiting club the lead with an unusual sliding finish. Then, after Messi’s assist put Alba in space, Alba calmly sent his shot past goalkeeper John McCarthy.
Additionally, Messi set up his team’s third goal, allowing Leonardo Campana through to score after LAFC defender Aaron Long erred.
In addition to his two assists, Messi had a fantastic opportunity to increase his goal total to 11 since moving to Miami, but McCarthy masterfully stopped his first-half effort.
Gomez appeared to be impressed by the combination of Messi’s strike and McCarthy’s fast responses from the stands as she watched in amazement, her mouth hanging open.
Messi later signed autographs for the family of “Zoolander” and “Cars” star Wilson. “We said before the match that it was a good test for us to see where we were at and what we are capable of,” Messi told MLS Español.
“We faced off against the reigning champion, a formidable foe, in a challenging stadium. Indeed, this is a positive outcome for the future.