Even towards the end of his career, Lionel Messi remains the focal point of every game he plays. In his first game, the 36-year-old scored a 94th-minute winner against Cruz Azul. In that contest, he came off the bench. However, he started his second game against Atlanta United. Despite a strong performance, spectators left the game early.
Videos showed an exodus of fans from DRV PNK Stadium after Tata Martino subbed Messi off for Inter Miami.
Empty seats at Messi’s Leagues Cup debut
According to The Athletic, the matchup was quite different from the setting of Messi’s debut the previous week. In that first game against Cruz Azul, there was a carnival-like atmosphere. Hundreds of fans showed up hours before kickoff. It was one of the most anticipated debuts in league history.
Even though the Leagues Cup game was also sold out, there were still plenty of legitimate tickets for Tuesday’s match-up until the whistle, and they were going for between $220 and $280. Some of Miami’s most costly tickets—those at the field level—didn’t sell, either.
Martino disapproves of fans leaving during Messi game with Miami
After receiving a ball from Sergio Busquets, the World Cup champion scored the game’s first goal. His two goals and an assist to Robert Taylor helped his team to a 4-0 victory. The second of his two goals came just before the 20-minute mark.
Post the 77-minute mark, the player who has won the Ballon d’Or seven times was taken off the field. Consequently, hundreds of spectators started leaving the DRV PNK Stadium.
After the match, Inter Miami manager Tata Martino expressed his displeasure towards the fans for their premature departure after he subbed Messi off.
“I really didn’t notice. However, with the type of player he is, it’s justified that this happens. I would have preferred that the public stayed and pay tribute to the entire team, but I can also understand it.”
PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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