Lionel Messi: Inter Miami Star Receives GOAT Reviews From MLS Coach After Champions Cup Glory

Lionel Messi: Inter Miami Star Receives GOAT Reviews From MLS Coach After Champions Cup Glory

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at March 14, 2024 at 9:05 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Inter Miami CF logo
Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
United States
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Nashville SC
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CONCACAF Champions League logo
CONCACAF Champions League
G. Smith
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  • Lionel Messi produced yet another sterling display for Inter Miami
  • The Argentine maestro starred as the Herons edged out Nashville
  • Opposition coach, Gary Smith, was full of praise for the Argentine

Lionel Messi earned widespread acclaim for his exceptional display as Inter Miami secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

The Argentine maestro showcased his trademark brilliance, scoring a goal and forming a dynamic partnership with Luis Suarez as the Herons prevailed over Nashville with a 5-3 aggregate scoreline across two legs, securing their place in the last eight of the competition.

Lionel Messi, Nashville, coach, Gary Smith, CONCACAF, Champions Cup.
Lionel Messi inspired Inter Miami to CONCACAF Champions Cup quarter-final qualification against Nashville. Photo by Johnnie Izquierdo.
Source: Getty Images

Despite being substituted shortly after half-time, the legendary Barcelona player's influence on the game was unmistakable, leaving an enduring mark on the fixture, per FOX Sports.

MLS coach sings Messi praises

Gary Smith, who handles Nashville, couldn't help but praise the 36-year-old's enduring qualities, even at his advanced age.

Smith admitted that containing the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner remains an incredibly daunting task for all of the domestic opponents Messi encounters in America.

"He's such a huge influence on the rest of the group. Yes, they have other very good players. But there is no one that can do what he can do. There is an infinite amount of trust in his decisions, his techniques, and his ability," he said as quoted by GOAL.

Detailing why the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner stands out from the crowd, the 55-year-old coach shed light on Messi's exceptional foresight, making him a genuine threat to opponents.

"As soon as he gets on the ball, everyone else goes into gear. And that's a real problem. That's a problem for individuals playing against him. It's a problem for the midfield players and defenders because they're now seeing runners that they wouldn't normally see.
"Maybe one or two players that have got that sort of confidence from the rest of their teammates around the league. Not many. And nobody at the level, of course, that this guy can produce."

Ronaldo names Messi as his GOAT

In a previous report on Messi's exceptional talent, Sports Brief covered Ronaldo Nazario's preference between the Argentine maestro and his long-time rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The ongoing debate over who deserves the title of the greatest football player of their era remains divisive, despite both football legends being past the primes of their careers.

During an interview with Mail Sports, a two-time World Cup winner, Ronaldo chose Messi as the GOAT when asked to pick between the Argentine and the Portuguese superstar.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.