Lionel Messi, Inter Miami stars watch Miami Heat NBA game

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi took a night off to watch the Miami Heat.

Eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi — along with teammates Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suárez — arrived just before tip-off of the Heat playoff game with the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

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Messi’s group — some clad in Heat attire and Busquets wearing a Heat hoodie — arrived in the players’ parking garage, then were brought in through a VIP entrance before making their way to their seats in a suite atop the lower level.

Messi has been to the arena before for at least one other event, but never before had arranged to be at a Heat game since moving to Miami last year.

Inter Miami is 6-2-3 so far this season in Major League Soccer play, occupying first place in the Eastern Conference and with the most points of any team in the league.

Messi had two goals and an assist in Inter Miami’s 4-1 win at New England on Saturday, and has multiple goal contributions in five straight matches — the first MLS player ever to do that. He has nine goals and seven assists in seven matches with Inter Miami this season.

Messi, who led Argentina to the World Cup title in 2022, has more than 800 goals in his career for club and country, making him one of the greatest scorers in soccer history. He scored twice in the 2022 World Cup final against France, a match that ended 3-3 with Argentina prevailing 4-2 on penalty kicks.