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The Student News Site of Jewish Leadership Academy

The Inkwell

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The Messi Effect

How a Boy From Rosario Changed American Soccer
The+Messi+Effect
Jared Polin

It is common knowledge to most people that Lionel Messi is one of the greatest soccer players. Period. His trophy cabinet is anything but empty, with twenty-seven domestic trophies across two separate countries, four UEFA Champions League trophies, a FIFA World Cup, as well as sixty-six individual awards. It’s safe to say that his contribution to the sport is unheralded.

Considering how well-renowned he was, it came as a surprise to most devout fans to see Lionel Messi joining Inter Miami CF after leaving his old club, Paris Saint-Germain. At the time of Messi joining, Inter Miami were rock bottom in terms of points, but the effect that Messi has had in the three months of his stay at Miami is unbelievable.

Speaking purely of on-the-field stats, Messi has made an insane contribution to Inter Miami’s team. Messi’s decision to join Inter Miami was announced on June 7, 2023, after a public falling out with his previous club. Messi turned down a rumored bid to return to his former club, FC Barcelona, and a staggering billion-dollar contract with a Saudi Arabian club to join Miami. Before the World Cup-winner stepped foot on a field with an Inter Miami shirt, the club had played ten games, losing six, tying three and only winning one. Messi’s first appearance for Miami was on July 21st, 2023, where Miami were playing their first game in the newly formed Leagues Cup (a competition disputed between teams of the American and Mexican leagues). Miami were tied 1-1 with Mexican side Cruz Azul, and Messi scored a last-minute free kick to give Miami their second win in the 2023 campaign. Inter Miami went on to win their following seven games in the competition, eventually raising the Leagues Cup trophy. Messi had scored ten goals and four assists, providing two goal contributions per game. Although Miami narrowly missed the playoffs, Messi was still directly involved with the scoring of three goals in five games, an impressive feat. 

Messi has also impacted soccer culture. Within a week of his announcement, Inter Miami’s Instagram account increased tenfold: from 800 thousand followers to over eight million. As of writing this, Inter Miami currently sits at around 12 million followers. In twenty-four hours, season tickets to Inter Miami had sold out, and prices had risen to nearly $300. The DRV PNK Stadium is regularly sold out for games, and soccer seems to have gained popularity solely because of Lionel Messi.

This rapid rise in success that Inter Miami has experienced is all due to Messi, which proves that his influence stretches past the Beautiful Game. His mesmerizing abilities as a player cause him to be adored across the world, and his move to Miami perfectly displays this ‘Messi Effect.’ Let’s just hope that he’ll be able to lead the team to domestic success next year, and bring Inter Miami CF their first MLS Cup.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Messi

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