Lionel Messi left Inter Miami teammate Robert Taylor in disbelief with an ‘insane’ piece of skill in their win over Real Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.
Miami kicked off the 2024 MLS season in style at their newly-named Chase Stadium, where they cruised past Real Salt Lake thanks to goals from Taylor and Diego Gomez.
While he wasn’t on the scoresheet himself, Messi was still at his brilliant best to help the hosts claim a 2-0 win, teeing up Taylor for the game’s opening goal.
After cutting inside on his preferred left foot, Messi’s path to goal was blocked by a Salt Lake defender lying down on the floor injured – but this proved no problem as he simply chipped the ball over them before trying to get a shot away.
Lionel Messi left Inter Miami teammate Robert Taylor in disbelief during their win over Real Salt Lake City
Messi chipped the ball over an injured player on the ground before getting a shot away
It was an outrageous piece of skill from a player heralded by most as the greatest of all time – and Finnish midfielder Taylor was in awe after the game.
‘That was insane,’ he told reporters about Messi’s chip over the injured player. ‘I couldn’t believe he did that.’
Messi put in a man-of-the-match display, producing some dazzling footwork, seeing a free-kick cleared off the line and hitting the bar directly from a corner before setting up Taylor’s opener.
The 36-year-old received a half-time hug from Will Smith – one of the stars in attendance at 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 and Co got off to a flyer in their opening MLS fixture of the season, claiming a 2-0 win
Messi showed brilliant strength, speed and close control to drive forward through the middle before playing in Luis Suarez, who set up Diego Gomez to score in the 83rd minute.
‘Last year we talked about how Messi opened up so much space, but you have Messi and Suarez now… it opens a lot of space for me on the wing,’ said Taylor.
‘They link so well together, so they attract a lot of defenders to them, so it leaves space for me also sometimes.’