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Messi proud of ‘incredible moments’ in first season at Miami

Lionel Messi said he is “proud” of his team’s accomplishments during his first season at Inter Miami despite them missing out on the MLS playoffs.

Inter Miami ended the campaign with a 1-0 loss at Charlotte FC on Saturday, with Messi playing the entire game.

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“I am proud of everything the team accomplished this season,” Messi said in a post on Instagram.

“With everyone’s work and effort, we were able to win the Leagues Cup, achieving the first title in the history of Inter Miami CF, we reached the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and we were even fighting to get into the MLS playoffs practically until the last moment.

“We are left with all the good things and above all with the desire to improve to be even more competitive next year. I would like to thank all the people at the club and the city of Miami for the support they always give us. I am sure that we will continue to live incredible moments together as has happened in recent months.”

Messi, 36, finished with 11 goals in 14 matches with Inter Miami this season. The team went 8-2-4 in those games; seven of those matches were on the team’s run to win its first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup. The Argentina captain also appeared in five MLS games, starting three times and scoring one goal.

Messi played in one U.S. Open Cup semifinal, but a hamstring injury derailed his season and essentially ended Inter Miami’s chances of making the postseason.

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Miami went 1-3-3 in seven matches without Messi after he joined the club. He was able to play as a substitute on Oct. 7 against FC Cincinnati, but Inter Miami lost 1-0 in a defeat that sealed its elimination from playoff contention.

The Argentina forward’s arrival in the United States caused a surge in ticket and merchandising sales.

Inter Milan managing owner Jorge Mas said earlier this month that “everything has changed” since Messi’s arrival at the club.

The MLS club have announced their their first overseas tour earlier this month and will play two exhibition games in China on Nov. 5 and Nov. 8.

The former Barcelona star will then join up with the Argentina squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil.

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