Messi’s Inter Miami The Best I’ve Faced in MLS – Chiellini

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Following a 3-1 home loss for the Southern California club, LAFC defender Giorgio Chiellini praised Lionel Messi‘s Inter Miami as the strongest side he has ever faced in Major League Soccer and predicted Miami to make the playoffs.

“This team [Miami] is the best, by far, that I’ve faced in MLS to be honest,” said the 39-year-old former Italy international defender. “Yeah, by far.”

A diverse range of celebrities, including LeBron James, Leonardo Di Caprio, Prince Harry, Selena Gomez, Will Ferrell, Jason Sudeikis, and members of Rage Against The Machine, were in attendance at the boisterous BMO Stadium, where LAFC played. Led by two assists from Messi, Miami did well to contain LAFC.

After the loss, when questioned about Messi’s influence in the MLS during the post-game press conference, LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo was direct.

“He’s the best player in the world, what did you think he was going to do when he came here?” Cherundolo said.

Messi increased his tally of 11 goals and five assists in 11 games played in all competitions with Miami with two assists on Sunday. Miami’s ongoing club record, which started with Messi’s arrival in July, has been extended thanks to his form, since they remain unbeaten in those 11 outings.

Miami, who was previously bottom in the MLS’s Eastern Conference, needs to improve from 14th to at least ninth in nine games in order to be considered for the playoffs, but Chiellini anticipates seeing them there.

“I think that they will join the playoffs,” the former Champions League finalist said.

Messi received accolades from Chiellini for his work with Miami and the league as a whole.

“The arrival of Leo in this league, it’s very good, not just for Miami and for the game, but for the attention that everyone now gives to the MLS. It’s a huge step for this league,” he said.

Miami’s desire to reach the playoffs was reaffirmed by Messi.

“Now we are going to try to reach the aim of being in the top eight to try to aim for the league [title],” he said. “This is the path. We continue to grow. Obviously winning gives you confidence.”

Messi agreed that Miami faced a battle against LAFC.

“We said it before the game that this [game] was a beautiful test to see where we are at, what we are capable of,” Messi said. “We were playing at a difficult pitch, against a very good rival, the defending champions. This is a good result ahead of what’s coming.

“The team is growing every day, we’ve said that since the beginning. We were lucky to win a title [Leagues Cup], to reach a final.”

Messi stated he had no intention of requesting a rest during upcoming contests.

“Physically I feel well. I continue to play, to cooperate, to help the team in what I can. I hope we can continue on this trend,” he said.