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Lionel Messi: Fastest career goal, Impact on US Soccer, social media boom

Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami is yet to be finalized, but already his impact on Major League is being felt as he scored the fastest goal against Australia.


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Lionel Messi scored his fastest career goal as Argentina comfortably beat Australia in a friendly in Beijing.

Fastest career goal for Messi

Captain Messi, 35, opened the scoring after one minute and 19 seconds, curling a finish into the top left corner from the edge of the box.

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Substitute German Pezzella doubled the world champions’ lead with a header in the 68th minute.

Australia’s Mitch Duke had a first-half effort pushed onto the post by Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

But Argentina always looked comfortable in Messi’s first match since agreeing to join American side Inter Miami.

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Lionel Scaloni’s side were playing their third fixture since lifting the World Cup in December, and their first outside of Argentina.

Messi’s Impact on US Soccer and social media boom

US soccer is no stranger to welcoming some of the sport’s biggest stars; David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and even Pelé have played in the States.

However, Messi may have a greater influence on the sport in the US than any of the names that went before him.

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In the minutes after it was reported that Messi would be moving to the US, ticket prices for Inter Miami matches soared by more than 1,000%.

According to the resale website TickPick, the cheapest ticket for Inter Miami’s Leagues Cup matches against Cruz Azul on July 21 potentially Messi’s first game with his new team was just $29.

In the 24 hours after news of Messi’s pending move emerged, the cheapest ticket was $329, TickPick said a surge of 1,034%.

The biggest increase, however, was for Miami’s game against the New York Red Bulls, with ticket prices soaring by 1,236% for Messi’s first trip to the Big Apple in August.

Lionel Messi Breaking America

Messi’s pending arrival at Inter Miami, which currently sits bottom of the MLS’ Eastern Conference, has already given a huge boost to the club’s global reach.

Before the announcement, the club had around one million followers on Instagram; as of June 13, it now has 7.8 million – more than every NFL, MLB, NHL and MLS team account.

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“Converting followers or monetizing followers is always a challenge,” Maguire adds. “It helps in terms of commercial deals because if you want to pitch to a commercial partner, you can now say: ‘Well, your product is now going to be seen by six million people instead of one million.

“So it will help from that perspective, A) in terms of the prices that Inter Miami can charge and B) with the number of commercial partners, who all of a sudden they want their product next to Lionel Messi.”

Of course, a large part of Messi’s remit in Miami will be to help boost interest in MLS and soccer in general in the United States, as has been the case for every major star since Pelé moved to the New York Cosmos in 1975 in what was then the North American Soccer League.

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While the Argentine won’t have to ‘crack America’ in the same way Beckham was asked to, with the sport growing exponentially in both popularity and value since Beckham moved to Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, soccer could certainly still do with an uplift in the US.


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