Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring the go ahead goal during the second half of a Leagues Cup group stage match against Cruz Azul Stadium on Friday, July 21, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

9 ridiculous stats behind Lionel Messi’s God-like start to life at Inter Miami

Lionel Messi has made an absolutely ridiculous start to life at Inter Miami. He’s undoubtedly the most high-profile signing in the history of Major League Soccer and has immediately lived up to the hype.

The Argentinian is the odds-on favourite to claim a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or later this year, after his heroic World Cup exploits in Qatar back in December. But he’s not arrived in Florida to wind down in a retirement home – he looks hungry to make his mark on football in the United States.

He’s yet to make his MLS debut, but has been Inter Miami’s talisman as they’ve navigated their way through to the final of the Leagues Cup tournament, which is contested between clubs from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX.

“We have the best player in the world. That can’t be ignored. When we have our moments, the team is lethal,” Inter Miami manager Tata Martino said Messi scored twice against FC Dallas.

“This question always gets asked in the places where he is. Someone can bet on what Barcelona would’ve looked like without Messi, what the Argentina national team would look like without Messi or anywhere he’s been.

“Fortunately, we have him, and today he once again showed he’s a tremendously important player.”

Here are nine statistics that illustrate just how good Messi has been for Inter Miami.

– Messi has scored nine goals in his first six appearances for Inter Miami. He’s also notched one assist.

– That works out at a goal every 56 minutes, and a direct goal contribution every 50 minutes. It’s early days and a small sample size, but to put that in context, Messi averaged a goal every 94 minutes and a goal or assist every 65 minutes at Barcelona. At his absolute peak, in 2011-12, he averaged a goal every 71 minutes and a goal or assist every 51 minutes.

– He’s scored in every one of his Inter Miami appearances to date, and he’s already scored two clutch free-kicks.

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READ: Lionel Messi has already conquered America with his insane free-kicks alone

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– On top of that, Messi stuck away a penalty in Miami’s penalty shootout victory over FC Dallas. He also sent in a free-kick cross that resulted in Dallas’ Marco Farfan scoring an own goal.

– LAFC’s Denis Bouanga is MLS’ top-scoring player in all competitions with 18 goals (12 MLS, six Leagues Cup). While Messi is yet to make his MLS debut, at the rate he’s going he could conceivably become 2023’s top scorer in all competitions, despite only making his debut in July. The season started in February.

– The 36-year-old is now the top scorer in this season’s Leagues Cup. He’s scored in every match of the competition so far and been Inter Miami’s outstanding player as they’ve booked their place in the final.

– After just six games, Messi has already outscored Steven Gerrard, Andrea Pirlo, Lothar Matthaus, Claudio Reyna, Freddie Ljungberg and Denilson in North American football. Admittedly, they all arguably flopped while playing stateside – but demonstrated it’s not necessarily easy to arrive as a much-hyped designated player.

– In fact, with hundreds of appearances between them, that lot only scored nine goals collectively. Messi has already managed to match this tally in just six appearances.

– Inter Miami have won all six of the matches that Messi has featured in to date (including the shootout win over FC Dallas). They were winless in six prior to his arrival, and had won just four of their previous 14 matches in all competitions. They’re currently bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference.

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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