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Lionel Messi didn't score a goal himself, but was involved in two goals

Photo: Chandan Khanna / AFP

Lionel Messi started the new MLS season successfully with Inter Miami.

In the 2-0 (1-0) win against Real Salt Lake, the 36-year-old was involved in both of his team's goals and played through.

Messi made it 1-0 in the 39th minute with a pass to Robert Taylor, who was lucky when he finished that the ball slipped through the Salt Lake goalkeeper's arms.

When Diego Gomez scored the second goal (83rd minute), Messi played the penultimate pass to Luis Suárez.

The Uruguayan is now the fourth former FC Barcelona professional to play for co-owner David Beckham's team, alongside Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

Miami is swimming in the second half

"I'm happy, the first game at home is important," said Suárez on US television and said to the Barça quartet: "We want to enjoy life and help Inter Miami win titles this year." Miami is considered Favorite in the US soccer competitions and was initially very dominant in the opening game.

In the second half, the team, which had only won one game in preparation, weakened increasingly and had several lucky scoring opportunities for Salt Lake.

Messi had recently been slowed down by health problems.

Against Salt Lake, however, the Argentine world champion appeared "relaxed, good and showed a lot of pace," said coach Gerardo Martino about Messi, who moved to Miami in the middle of last season and had to struggle a lot with injuries.

Messi recently caused a political issue by not playing a show game in China.

For the eight-time world footballer, it will be the first full season for Inter Miami.

Major League Soccer bases its season on the calendar year, and Messi moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Florida last summer, halfway through the season.

He scored eleven goals in his 14 competitive games for Miami and led the team to the first title in its history with victory in the Leagues Cup.

In the MLS, however, he was only used six times and only scored one goal.

He was no longer able to lead Miami into the playoffs.

His contract, worth around $150 million, runs until the end of the 2025 season.