Fans slam horror challenge on Lionel Messi during Inter Miami’s clash with Nashville… as they claim it could have ENDED his career, while they hail the Argentine as the ‘goat’ for being able to play on

Football fans have hit out at a challenge Lionel Messi received during Inter Miami’s clash with Nashville on Thursday.

The Argentine superstar has enjoyed a stunning start to his first full season with the MLS outfit, netting three times in three league games in the build-up to the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup last-16 encounter last night.

But, the David Beckham-owned outfit endured a disastrous start as they went 2-0 down to Nashville before Messi pulled one back with a stunning goal after an assist from his former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.

However, in the 78th minute, as Nashville defender Lukas MacNaughton attempted to clear the ball, he followed through and caught Messi with his studs above the shin in what was an extremely ugly challenge.

The Argentine – who was furious with the tackle – was left squirming on the floor in pain after his leg seemingly buckled, before he was attended to by Inter Miami’s medical staff.

Fans have slammed a horror challenge on Lionel Messi in Inter Miami's clash with Nashville
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Fans have slammed a horror challenge on Lionel Messi in Inter Miami’s clash with Nashville

Towards the end of the game Nashville defender Lukas MacNaughton tried to clear the ball
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Towards the end of the game Nashville defender Lukas MacNaughton tried to clear the ball

But as he did so, he followed through and caught the Argentine with his studs above the shin

However, MacNaughton wasn’t even booked by the referee and Messi recovered to carry on for the rest of the game, with the Argentine having the last laugh when Suarez equalised in the fifth minute of added time.

And, as footage of the challenge circulated on social media, fans were quick to hit out at MacNaughton, while they also hailed Messi for his ability to withstand the rough treatment he often receives.

One said: ‘What are Messi’s feet made of? This guy has endured so insane tackles throughout his career.’

Another added: ‘I actually don’t know how does he survive these tackles?’, before a further shocked fan said: ‘He got back up after two mins and continued. Just GOAT stuff.’

Others were relieved Messi was able to continue, with worries raised that the nasty tackle could’ve brought a curtain down on the 36-year-old’s career.

A further fan quipped: ‘This tackle on Lionel Messi would have ended the career of ordinary players but not THE GOAT. Unto to the next.’

Meanwhile, one described Messi as ‘a freak of nature’, with an extra supporter weighing in on the debate as they said: ‘He almost ended football. We were going to be left watching soccer.’

Several social media users slammed the nasty challenged and hailed Messi's resilience

Several social media users slammed the nasty challenged and hailed Messi’s resilience

Inter Miami came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 after goals from Messi and Luis Suarez
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Inter Miami came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 after goals from Messi and Luis Suarez

The 2-2 draw means next week’s return leg in Florida is set to be a blockbuster showdown as both teams look to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.

Before then, Inter Miami – who sit top of the MLS Eastern Conference after three games – host Montreal on Sunday.

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