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Inter Miami 2-0 Real Salt Lake: Messi sparkles in MLS curtain-raiser
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Simon Peach
Press Association
Lionel Messi shone as Inter Miami kicked off the MLS season with three points
Lionel Messi shone as Inter Miami kicked off the MLS season with three points

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham had a front row seat as star man Lionel Messi put on a show in the Major League Soccer curtain-raiser against Real Salt Lake.

The Manchester United and England legend flew to Florida for the season opener and will have liked what he saw from Tata Martino's ambitious team in Wednesday's 2-0 win.

Messi, 36, put in a man-of-the-match display, producing some outrageous footwork, seeing a free-kick cleared off the line and hitting the bar directly from a corner before setting up Robert Taylor's opener.

He received a half-time hug from Hollywood star Will Smith — one of the A-list celebrities in attendance at the upgraded Chase Stadium — and continued to play with an irresistible swagger.

While Miami lost their way as a team after their dominant first half, they dug deep and eventually killed off vastly improved RSL.

Messi showed brilliant strength, speed and close control to drive forward through the middle before playing in new signing Luis Suarez, who set up Diego Gomez to score in the 83rd minute.

That moment gave Miami new life and former Liverpool striker Suarez, 37, saw a debut goal brilliantly denied by Zac MacMath, who was guilty of allowing Taylor's first-half strike to squirm past him.

Salt Lake's goalkeeper also thwarted Messi at the end of an incredible run down the right as the hosts ended a challenging second half on a high.

In truth, the only person able to keep up with the Argentina skipper was his personal bodyguard, who went up and down the touchline tracking the star throughout the game.


Lionel MessiInter Miami CFMajor League Soccer
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