Messi feeling Inter Miami love ahead of Leagues Cup final
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) —
Lionel Messi has lavished praise on his Inter Miami colleagues and head coach Gerardo Martino as the team prepares for Saturday’s Leagues Cup final against Nashville SC.
Messi has scored nine goals from six outings in the Leagues Cup – an annual competition featuring teams from the United States, Canada and Mexico – since joining the Florida outfit on a free transfer last month.
“We always saw ourselves as being capable of competing and getting this title,” the 36-year-old told a news conference at Inter Miami’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters on Thursday.
Despite sitting last in Major League Soccer’s eastern conference, Inter Miami have won all of their six matches since Messi arrived along with Martino in mid-July.
The Argentine World Cup winner also cited the support of Inter Miami’s fans as a major reason for the side’s radical improvement.
“The team has grown a lot since his [Martino’s] arrival,” Messi said. “I arrived at the club with great enthusiasm and with the desire to continue to get results as I have throughout my career.”
“Although it’s a great surprise to be playing in a final, we’ve been preparing ourselves for this. The team has grown a lot.”
Messi compared his Inter Miami move favorably to the one which saw him arrive at Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 after 17 years at Barcelona.
“It was much easier than we [my family] thought. We had had the experience of changing cities from Barcelona to Paris and it had been complicated. This was totally different,” he said.
“Today I can say that I am very happy with the decision we made, not only from a football perspective but from the point of view of my family; the way we live day to day, the city and the way the people have treated us. It [the support] not only in Miami but in the United States in general has been extraordinary,” he added.