Comparing Inter Miami’s record with and without Lionel Messi in 2023

You only need to look at Inter Miami’s record with and without Lionel Messi in 2023 to see the colossal impact he’s made at the MLS club. 

Inter Miami were arguably the worst side in Major League Soccer prior to Messi’s arrival in the summer. They were bottom of the Eastern Conference table and didn’t have a coach following the sacking of Phil Neville.

Messi left Paris Saint-Germain after his contract expired at the end of last season. After weeks of speculation and reports of a return to Barcelona or lucrative move to Saudi Arabia, the Argentinian World Cup winner announced in early June that Miami was his preferred destination.

The hot favourite to claim a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or, Messi is the highest-profile addition to North American soccer since David Beckham – and undoubtedly the greatest since the legendary Pele joined New York Cosmos in the 1970s.

The 36-year-old made his long-awaited debut in late July, and he instantly lived up to the hype by scoring a late free-kick match-winner against Liga MX side Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.

He’s continued to make massive contributions and has turned around Inter Miami’s fortunes wholesale, alongside his former Argentina and Barcelona coach Tato Martino and old team-mates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets.

Messi has scored or assisted in almost all of his appearances to date, has won almost every match he’s featured in, and is yet to taste defeat. He also played a starring role in the club’s first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup back in July.

“When you mention Leo, you say he’s the best player in the world,” Martino told reporters following the Leagues Cup trophy lift.

“There’s no better praise than that. I value greatly what he’s telling the Inter Miami fans, he came to compete, just like Busquets and Alba. They came to compete, and today they won.”

But Inter Miami continue to be a work in progress. Messi sat out their recent 5-2 MLS defeat to Atlanta United, and his importance was further underlined by his injury-hit absence from the US Open Cup final. The talisman watched on from the stands, unable to influence, as his team-mates succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Houston Dynamo in Fort Lauderdale.

Here’s how Inter Miami’s stats in the 2023 season compare with and without Messi featuring. We’ve only included competitive matches – so MLS, Leagues Cup and the US Open Cup only.

With Lionel Messi

Played: 12
Won: 11 (three via penalty shootout)
Drawn: 1
Lost: 0

Goals for: 34 (11 scored and five assisted by Messi – a direct hand in 47%)
Goals per game: 2.83
Goals against: 12 
Goals against per game: 1.00

Points per game (MLS): 2.83 (2.5)
Win rate: 91.6% (66.6% not including penalty shootouts)
Loss rate: 0%

Without Lionel Messi

Played: 30
Won: 10 (one via penalty shootout)
Drawn: 4
Lost: 16

Goals for: 35
Goals per game: 1.16
Goals against: 49
Goals against per game: 1.63

Points per game (MLS): 1.13 (0.88)
Win rate: 33.3% (30% not including penalty shootouts)
Loss rate: 53.3%

You can watch every single MLS match from wherever you are in the world with an MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

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