Lionel Messi scores twice for Inter Miami in 4-0 win

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Lionel Messi scores twice for Inter Miami in 4-0 win

Lionel Messi scored twice and assisted once on his first start for Inter Miami in a 4-0 win over Atlanta United.

The Argentina star, 36, scored two inside the opening 22 minutes before setting up team-mate Robert Taylor in the second half.

After netting his second, Messi celebrated by pointing at Inter Miami owner David Beckham.

His performance follows a match-winning stoppage-time free-kick on his debut last week.

“He can do everything on the ball. He can keep it in tight spaces, and he makes the right decision 100% of the time,” said Taylor.

“Most of the time he’ll find one of his team-mates. He brings so much quality to the team, so much. I mean, he’s the best player in the world.

“This is what he does – he scores two goals, he scored last game, gets another assist. It’s a dream come true to play with him.”

Messi, who is a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, only trained with his team-mates for the first time last week after moving to the Major League Soccer side following the end of his contract at Paris St-Germain.

The 2022 World Cup-winner scored 32 goals in 75 games during a two-year spell with the French champions and turned down lucrative offers from other countries to play in the US.

Messi opened the scoring in the ninth minute, firing home a rebound from his own shot after controlling a ball over the top from former Barcelona team-mate and fellow new arrival Sergio Busquets.

He doubled the lead 13 minutes later, combining with Finland midfielder Taylor to slot home a low cross from close-range.

Taylor added a third before half-time, before Messi put the 28-year-old through on the break in the second half to complete the scoring.

Messi was substituted in the 78th minute to a standing ovation, with a number of fans leaving the 20,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium shortly afterwards.

“I really didn’t notice. However, with the type of player he is, it’s justified that this happens,” said Inter Miami head Gerardo Martino.

“I would have preferred that the public stayed and pay tribute to the entire team, but I can also understand it.”

The win saw Inter Miami move into the knockout stages of the Leagues Cup.