MLS

Robert Taylor in dreamland after new team-mate Lionel Messi celebrates his goal

By Sports Desk July 22, 2023

From considering his future on non-league Lincoln Moorlands Railway’s bench to Lionel Messi celebrating his goal, Inter Miami midfielder Robert Taylor’s story is something else.

The eyes of the footballing world were focused on DRV PNK Stadium on Friday evening as the Argentinian magician began his new chapter Stateside.

Messi’s Miami debut has been years in the making and proved worth the wait as he came off the bench to score a stunning free-kick winner against Cruz Azul in stoppage time.

The 2-1 League Cup victory was a dream debut for the 36-year-old and a surreal moment for new team-mates like Taylor, who also played alongside Sergio Busquets for the first time.

“It’s amazing, it’s great, of course I’m excited,” Taylor said.

“He’s just come in and brought a lot of energy to the team. His play means he makes the right decisions all of the time in training and in the games which is why it’s so good.

“It’s a great feeling. The way to win it as well. To witness that free-kick and the quality he brings to the team, it’s unbelievable.”

The night was particularly special for Taylor, who said it was “pretty sick” to know Messi celebrated his thumping opener off a post.

It is just the latest chapter in a scarcely believable rise for the Finland international, who played for top clubs in his homeland, Sweden and Norway after struggling to make an impact in England.

The 28-year-old spent periods with Nottingham Forest, Barnet and Lincoln, from where he was farmed out on frustrating, fruitless loans to Boston Town and Lincoln Moorlands Railway.

“If someone told me a few years ago when I sitting on the bench for Lincoln Moorlands that I’m going to play with Busquets and Messi I would have just laughed in their face,” Taylor said with a grin.

“I was sitting on the bench, I wasn’t able to get any minutes in non-league and the coach told me I’m not strong enough or basically good enough. I was just sitting on the bench watching.

 

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“It tested me when I was younger. I was calling my parents back home in Finland and saying maybe I want to look for something, other options.”

Taylor’s father Paul is an English former footballer who played for KuPS in Finland, where he still lives and he stayed up to watch the madness unfold out in Fort Lauderdale.

It is a night that will live long in the memory but not one that Miami will be basking in the afterglow of for long given they are looking to bounce back from a poor Major League Soccer season.

“Of course it’s an unbelievable feeling for everyone in the team but eventually we’ll have to get used to it and not get too emotional around it, we just have to focus on the game,” Taylor added.

“I think everyone needs to enjoy the win but now we need to focus on the fact we’ve got Atlanta next.”

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