Lionel Messi: Stars in attendance for Inter Miami striker’s MLS debut in New York – including NBA icon Carmelo Anthony and hip artists Fat Joe and French Montana
- Messi marked his league debut for Inter Miami with a late goal off the bench
- A number of big names were in attendance for his MLS debut at Red Bull Arena
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With arguably the greatest football player of all time in town, a number of famous faces made their way to the Red Bull Arena for Lionel Messi’s MLS debut on Saturday night.
Messi traveled to New York this weekend for his first-ever league game for Inter Miami, which he scored with a sensational late goal after coming off the bench.
Given the anticipation surrounding his arc in MLS, ticket prices for the match have soared dramatically over the past week, with some fans paying over $20,000 to get a share of the action.
Several big names have also secured their place at Red Bull Arena, including New York hip-hop stars Fat Joe and French Montana.
Both artists were in attendance for Saturday’s game along with rap legend DMC, who bizarrely claimed before kickoff that he was set to run for president, Vin Rock, DJ Kay Gee, DJ Skribble and DJ Scratcon at a party which also saw the Red Bulls host. a celebration for the 50th anniversary of hip hop.
Fat Joe (left) and Carmelo Anthony (right) were among the stars in attendance for Lionel Messi’s MLS debut in New York on Saturday night.
Messi marked his league debut with a goal as Inter Miami cruised to a 2-0 win over the Red Bulls.
Women’s soccer couple Kristie Mewis (centre left) and Sam Kerr (right) were also at the game.
Another rap star, French Montana, watched Messi get on the scoresheet in New York.
Also in attendance were former NBA forward Carmelo Anthony, New York-born playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and women’s soccer couple Kristie Mewis and Sam Kerr.
Unfortunately for all the celebrities in question – as well as the fans who splashed out big bucks on tickets – Messi wasn’t involved from the start of the game after being named on the bench by the Inter boss, Tata Martino.
The World Cup-winning Argentina captain had started Miami’s last seven matches, guiding them to League Cup glory while also inspiring their US Open Cup semi-final win over Cincinnati this week.
As a result, Martino hinted on Friday that his star man would be rested for upcoming games after a whirlwind start to life in the United States.
He was finally introduced on the hour mark with Inter 1-0 after Diego Gomez’s opener in the first half, and with minutes to go Messi’s magic sealed the three points.
After collecting the ball inside the box, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner twisted and turned before weaving into Benjamin Cremaschi near the touchline with an exceptional pass, which allowed him to bring it back in front of goal for Messi to score.
Messi was on the bench for 60 minutes on Saturday night with Sergio Busquets (right)
But after entering the fray, he teamed up superbly with Benjamin Cremaschi to seal the victory.
He has now scored 11 goals in his first nine appearances, claiming victory in all of them – but twice on penalties.
As Wednesday’s semi-final against Cincinnati seemed to be slipping away from them, Messi fired a sensational cross to give Campana the last-gasp equalizer.
Miami then won on penalties for the second time in four days, booking its place in next month’s final against the Houston Dynamo.
Next up for Messi and Inter is Nashville’s visit to DRV PNK Stadium on Wednesday night.