Former Nottingham Forest striker Sam Surridge, now playing for Nashville in the MLS, recently had the opportunity to face the legendary Lionel Messi during the Leagues Cup final. Despite ending up on the losing side, Surridge shared his thoughts on the experience coming up against the Inter Miami superstar.
Surridge described the encounter as surreal, especially considering it was a final match. He admitted that facing Messi in such a high-stakes game was something he never expected. Surridge felt that his team should have won with a solid second-half performance. However, it was the Inter Miami man who scored the equalizing goal. Surridge noted that Messi didn't seem particularly active during some parts of the game, even standing on the side of the pitch at one point. However, Surridge finds Messi's ability to turn a match around instantly remarkable and hopes to learn from it.
The Leagues Cup victory added another significant honor to Messi's illustrious career, marking his 44th major title. Since joining Inter Miami, Messi has been in fine form, scoring 11 goals in 12 appearances. He also played a crucial role in guiding his team to the final of the U.S. Open Cup.
However, Messi has faced some injury setbacks, which have limited his playing time in recent matches. He has played only 37 minutes in Inter Miami's last six games. Messi's availability remains uncertain as the team vies for a playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference.
Messi's arrival in Major League Soccer has undoubtedly contributed to the league's growth and popularity, and the upcoming World Cup in 2026 is expected to elevate soccer's status in the United States.