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Lionel Messi has already won virtually every major soccer trophy in existence, but now he faces his greatest challenge yet: Philadelphia sports fans. 

Messi gets his first taste of the city of brotherly love when his new MLS team Inter Miami faces the defending MLS Cup runner-up Philadelphia Union in the 2023 Leagues Cup semifinals on Tuesday. Noted soccer fan and Philadelphia sports star Joel Embiid of the 76ers has a message for fans attending the match at Subaru Park in Chester, Pa.

The Union are having another strong year this season, at third place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings before the break for the Leagues Cup. Inter Miami, meanwhile, is last among the Eastern Conference’s 15 teams. But the David Beckham-owned team looks transformed since Messi arrived at the beginning of the Leagues Cup, bringing fellow former Barcelona stars Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba along with him. 

Inter Miami is currently favored to win despite being on the road against the accomplished Union side, which would put Messi one step closer to winning a trophy in his first possible chance as an MLS player.

[2023 Leagues Cup odds: Bettors big on Lionel Messi, Inter Miami vs. Philadelphia]

There is no word on whether Embiid himself will appear at the match, though he would not be the first NBA star to watch Messi in person at Inter Miami.

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Lionel Messi

Joel Embiid

Inter Miami CF


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