Ten Record to Beat for Messi in Miami

Recently, Lionel Messi – the Argentinian world champion – has joined the pool of athletes whose every move is followed very closely in the United States. He had a successful debut for Inter Miami and has already managed to win with his new club the first, albeit secondary, trophy in its history. The main challenge at this stage of the forward’s career is the regular MLS season, during the last third of which Leo must at least try to lift the team from the last place in the standings of his conference. Leo had a great MLS debut.

Let’s try to look into the future and imagine what records Messi can set in North America. Dividing the potential achievements of the Argentinian by the level of difficulty.

Difficulty level: normal

  • Inter’s record for goals in history – 29 (held by Gonzalo Higuain);
  • Inter’s record for goals in a season – 16 (Gonzalo Higuain);
  • Inter’s record for assists in history – 11 (Gonzalo Higuain);
  • Inter’s record for assists in a season – 9 (Gonzalo Higuain);
  • Inter’s record for penalty goals – 8 (Gonzalo Higuain).

Like any other young organization (Inter Miami only debuted in MLS in 2020), the club’s record book is frankly not very impressive. In its history so far, there have been only two players to score double-digit goals in MLS, and virtually all the core records belong to Messi’s longtime Argentina teammate Higuain – the striker spent two and a half seasons and a total of 70 official matches with the club.

Leo should confidently break all these marks already next year – because right now he is the biggest star in the league and its highest paid player, and 30 goals for a top forward in MLS, where the vast majority of teams do not have a particularly reliable defense, is a perfectly achievable number. Overall, if Messi leaves Higuain with at least one of his scoring or assist records, his transfer will be considered a spectacular fiasco

Difficulty level: high

  • MLS record for goals from the free kicks – 13 (held by Sebastian Giovinco);
  • MLS record for hat tricks – 6 (Joseph Martinez);
  • MLS record for goals in a season – 34 (Carlos Vela);
  • MLS record for assists in a season – 26 (Carlos Valderrama);
  • MLS record for goals from the penalty spot – 41 (Jaime Moreno).

Debates may persist endlessly over whether Messi stands as the ultimate free-kick maestro in football’s annals, yet an indisputable truth emerges: his precise strikes have etched a mark of excellence, registering more than 50 goals from set-pieces throughout his illustrious career.

Having graced Major League Soccer with multiple seasons of sublime quality, Messi’s existing contract with Inter Miami extends for a substantial two and a half years. This generous time-frame empowers the Argentine sensation not only to honor but also to potentially rival Donovan’s accomplishments. Similarly, the record for penalties converted by Moreno, an impressive 41, is indeed noteworthy, but it’s imperative to consider that Moreno concluded his career in 2010, within a vastly distinct league context. In recent MLS seasons, the proliferation of penalties awarded has soared significantly, largely attributed to the pervasive use of VAR in every match. It’s become a common occurrence for referees to point to the spot twice or even thrice in a single game.

In the upcoming regular season, Leo Messi is poised to challenge the records set by legends like Velasquez or Valderrama. While the latter feat presents an imposing challenge, as no other MLS player has surpassed 20 assists per season, Messi’s remarkable abilities make it conceivable. It’s unlikely that he will endeavor to conquer both records simultaneously, as 60 goal contributions in a mere 34 games appear a Herculean task, even for a talent of Messi’s caliber and Inter’s resources. Nevertheless, striving to replicate at least one of these feats undoubtedly remains a viable option. Furthermore, the league’s tally for hat-tricks is surprisingly modest within MLS. Ibrahimović accomplished three in two seasons, leaving one to wonder why the indomitable Argentine couldn’t aim to double that tally.

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