Lionel Messi & Inter Miami are Leagues Cup champions!


Lionel Messi's golazo and Drake Callender's shootout heroics have delivered Inter Miami CF's first-ever trophy, beating Nashville SC 10-9 in penalty kicks during Saturday night's pulsating Leagues Cup 2023 Final – all after the sides battled to a 1-1 draw at GEODIS Park.

The 11-round shootout was clinched by Callender's two saves from the spot, first on Nashville midfielder Randall Leal and then Elliot Panicco, his goalkeeping counterpart. Messi started the scoring in PKs, only adding to his world-record 44th trophy for club and country as the Herons continue their turnaround from MLS's last-place side to one raising silverware.

The regulation-time goals were scored on either side of halftime, starting with Messi (23') bending home a picture-perfect strike into the top corner after powering through a Walker Zimmerman challenge for his Golden Boot-clinching 10th goal. Yet Nashville's persistence paid off via winger Fafà Picault (57'), whose corner-kick header deflected in to reinforce his side's strength on set pieces.

As these 2020 MLS expansion siblings chased a late winner, Miami hit two posts in the second half. Messi was the architect of the first, beating Panicco but not the woodwork in the 71st minute. Then in the 93rd minute, after a Sergio Busquets long ball, striker Leonardo Campana had the trophy on his boot – only for the goalframe to deny his wraparound sliding attempt after his chip rounded Panicco.

Nashville poured on the pressure themselves, especially through the nascent Hany Mukhtar-Sam Surridge partnership. Both Designated Players forced Callender into big-time stops, but couldn't settle the game in regulation time. Come the epic PK shootout, the Herons emerged on top.


  • 23' - MIA - Lionel Messi | WATCH
  • 57' - NSH - Fafà Picault | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Leagues Cup started with Messi's debut free-kick goal against Cruz Azul, and it ended with the Argentine superstar raising a trophy. It's been a poetic, storybook month for Miami as they ascend into contender status – already knowing they have 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup soccer ahead (Round of 16 bye). Nashville can keep their heads high, but this night was all about Messi & Co. making history.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Messi. Left foot. Golazo. We've all seen this story before. And it never gets old.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Callender made five saves in regulation time, then provided two stops in PKs. He is the unsung hero of this trophy run (and scored a PK of his own).

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