Messi Mania! Top 10 moments of 2023 with Inter Miami


Wherever Lionel Messi goes, unforgettable moments inevitably follow.

It’s been the case throughout the legendary No. 10’s career, from his FC Barcelona glory days, to his brief stay at Paris Saint-Germain, to his numerous international triumphs with Argentina. And it most certainly was the case during his magical first half-season in Major League Soccer with Inter Miami CF.

We can’t wait to see what Messi does next year with the Herons alongside fellow Barça icons Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and the newly-signed Luis Suárez – starting with their Feb. 21 regular-season opener against Real Salt Lake (8 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

For now, let’s look back at La Pulga’s top 10 moments of 2023 with Miami.

Messi joins Inter Miami

The moment that changed everything.

Nostalgia (in the form of a hero's return to Barcelona) and unprecedented riches (in the form of the Saudi Pro League) were calling, but Messi ultimately chose to plant his flag in MLS – stating his intention to join Inter Miami on June 7 before officially signing with the Herons on July 15.

Messi’s unveiling

Miami fans flocked to DRV PNK Stadium a day after the huge news became official to welcome Messi in person. And the man of the moment prophetically promised “a lot of beautiful things are going to happen” during a heartfelt introductory speech.

A dream debut

Coming off the bench in the 60th minute to score a game-winning, stoppage-time, free-kick golazo against Cruz Azul and setting the tone for Miami's historic 2023 Leagues Cup run? He's the GOAT for a reason.

First start, first brace

How do you top a first impression like that? How about scoring twice inside the opening 22 minutes, while adding a pair of assists, in your first-ever start for Miami en route to a 4-0 Leagues Cup drubbing of Atlanta United?

Leagues Cup glory

Messi ended up scoring 10 goals in Leagues Cup, including a trademark left-footed stunner in the final against Nashville SC that Miami ultimately won 10-9 in a penalty shootout to claim their first-ever title.

US Open Cup heroics

Messi went “súper crack” mode, to quote Herons head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, with a brilliant assist that fueled Miami’s comeback and subsequent 5-4 PK shootout victory at FC Cincinnati to book their spot in the US Open Cup final.

THAT goal against the New York Red Bulls

Tiki-taka on steroids. Alba and Benjamin Cremaschi contributed brilliantly as Messi scored a golazo for the ages in his first MLS regular-season appearance with the Herons.

Messi goes Hollywood

La Pulga pulled the strings in a dominant display at BMO Stadium, delivering a pair of stunning assists as Miami outclassed then-defending MLS Cup champions LAFC in arguably their most convincing league performance of 2023.

Another Ballon d'Or for the GOAT

Barely a half a year removed from winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Argentina, and with “Messi Mania” in full swing across the United States, the 36-year-old added a record eighth Ballon d’Or award to his historic trophy collection.

Noche d’Or

It was a fitting tribute from Inter Miami to celebrate their superstar No. 10 capturing world soccer’s biggest individual prize yet again after a whirlwind debut season in Major League Soccer.

Stay tuned for more in 2024.