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Prince Harry among star-studded crowd watching Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami defeat LAFC

Lionel Messi is the only athlete who can draw an A-list audience to a sporting event, as seen by Sunday's Major League Soccer match between Inter Miami and Los Angeles FC.

Prince Harry, Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, and Will Ferrell (who is a co-owner of LAFC), actress and artist Selena Gomez, and rapper Tyga were among the famous faces who witnessed Miami's 3-1 victory in California from the stands.

The illustrious crowd served as proof of Messi's continuing influence on American soccer. Since the Argentinian's arrival, demand for Miami games has increased, with average ticket prices for Sunday's game being approximately $690, making it the most expensive MLS game ever, per online marketplace TickPick.

Since leaving Paris Saint-Germain, Messi has made a significant difference both on and off the field. Prior to the 36-year-old's debut, Miami had gone nine games without a victory. Since then, the team has gone 11 games without a loss and last month won its first trophy.

California's Los Angeles on September 3: On September 3, 2023, in Los Angeles, California, at BMO Stadium, during a game between Inter Miami CF and Los Angeles Football Club, Lionel Messi, player number 10, of Inter Miami CF, keeps possession of the ball in the first half. (Image: Harry How via Getty Images)
Messi contributed two assists to the defeat against LAFC.
Author: Harry How
The latest victory in Miami's remarkable turnaround, which has also been prompted by the signing of Messi's former Barcelona teammate, Sergio Busquets, was against the defending MLS Cup champion LAFC.

One of Miami's three goals on Sunday, however, was scored by another former Barcelona great, Jordi Alba. Despite LAFC dominating the early going, Facundo Faras gave the visiting club the lead with an unusual sliding finish in the first half. Then, Alba was given space by Messi's ball and calmly dispatched his shot past goalkeeper John McCarthy.

In addition, Messi set up his team's third goal by taking advantage of an error by LAFC defender Aaron Long to allow Leonardo Campana to score.

Ryan Hollingshead restored parity with a looping header from a corner, but LAFC's 22 shots during the duration of the game meant that it was too little, too late. Numerous opportunities were lost by the home team, most notably by the misfiring forward Dénis Bouanga.

After defeating Los Angeles FC at BMO Stadium on September 3, 2023, actor Owen Wilson and Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) meet. Los Angeles, California, USA. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports, Gary A.
After the match between LAFC and Inter Miami, Messi had a conversation with actor Owen Wilson.
Reuters/Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports
Along with his two assists, Messi also had a wonderful opportunity to add to his 11 goals since joining Miami, but McCarthy expertly stopped his first-half shot.

Gomez appeared to be impressed by the combination of Messi's shot and McCarthy's fast thinking from the stands, as she watched on in awe with her mouth agape.

Messi later signed autographs for the family of "Zoolander" and "Cars" actor Wilson and told MLS Espaol, "We mentioned before the match that it was a fantastic test for us to assess where we were at and what we are capable of.

"We faced up against a very excellent opponent, the reigning champion, in a challenging stadium. And yes, it's a successful outcome for the future.

During the second half of a Major League Soccer match between Los Angeles FC and Inter Miami on Sunday, September 3, 2023, in Los Angeles, entertainer Selena Gomez, center, and rapper Tyga, left, may be seen. Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo
At BMO Stadium on Sunday, Selena Gomez (middle) and rapper Tyga (left) were spectators.
Author: Mark J. Terrill
The organization is actually expanding every day, he continued. We've stated from the start that when we were all playing together, we had the good fortune to win a competition (the Leagues Cup), to advance to a final, and now we're going to try to do the same to try to win the league.

Miami, which was last in the Eastern Conference standings before the arrival of Messi, is attempting to move up the standings after winning the Leagues Cup last month.

On September 9, it will play Sporting KC, while LAFC, which is now third in the West Conference rankings, will play the Portland Timbers.


Daniel Jack

For Daniel, journalism is a way of life. He lives and breathes art and anything even remotely related to it. Politics, Cinema, books, music, fashion are a part of his lifestyle.