‘Magi-steerial!’ Effusive Messi fan Ray Hudson will call U.S. Open Cup final between Inter Miami and Houston

Ray Hudson is perhaps Lionel Messi’s most famous admirer. The former professional player and manager broadcast La Liga matches for BeIn Sports for nine years; audio of his commentary on Messi’s brilliance plays at Barcelona’s Hall of Fame. At 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Hudson will call the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship final between Messi’s Inter Miami and the Houston Dynamo on Paramount+ and the CBS Sports Network.
Former Miami Fusion manager Ray Hudson kisses an official during a 2000 match against the Chicago Fire at Lockhart Stadium.
Former Miami Fusion manager Ray Hudson kisses an official during a 2000 match against the Chicago Fire at Lockhart Stadium. / Eliot J. Schechter/GettyImages

“Rocky” Ray Hudson is beloved in South Florida for his outstanding play for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the original NASL, for coaching the now defunct Miami Fusion to Major League Soccer’s best record in 2001, and for his uniquely joyful, playful and insightful soccer commentary.

"Astonishing from Lionel. Sweeter than a mother's kiss at bed time."

Hudson on Messi

For nine years, Hudson was BeIn Sports’ voice of LaLiga and, by default, Barcelona. A fan of the Argentine phenom from the beginning, many of his most famous moments on mic came while announcing La Blaugrana’s matches against their Madrid rivals, Real and Atlético.

"Defenders try to follow him on Facebook and he comes out on Twitter, that's how evasive he is."

Hudson on Messi

When rumors of Messi’s imminent signing with Inter Miami began to gain traction earlier this year, area media naturally turned to Hudson, an Englishman and naturalized American citizen who makes his home only minutes from DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Below is Hudson’s interview with Roger Bennett of Men in Blazers:

BeIn Sports lost La Liga’s American broadcast rights to ESPN after the 2020-2021 season (ironically, Messi’s last season at Barcelona before moving to Paris Saint-Germain). Hudson now calls matches for CBS Sports and Paramount+, and continues to host “The Football Show” on Sirius XM FC 157.

"Centipedes fantasize about having one left leg as good as his."

Hudson on Messi

The Miami Herald’s Andre Fernandez and Michelle Kaufman talked with Hudson before Inter Miami played Nashville for the Leagues Cup trophy, in which he called the resurrection of Inter Miami’s season, “the greatest comeback since Lazarus.”

The hype in this podcast already seems naive, eh? And, considering the uncertainty surrounding Messi’s fitness, a bit innocent. Still, it whets my appetite for more of Messi’s magic…and Hudson’s magnificent linguistic gymnastics.

"He abides in the magnetic spectrum of genius with the ball. Pure footballing magic."

Hudson on Messi

The Herons host the Houston Dynamo at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title match with a chance to lift a second major trophy, and La Rosa Negra is still in the hunt for a highly unlikely postseason berth. The possibilities are exciting, but let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. Some players transcend the game; trophies and titles are meaningless if their winning costs the World a single Messi free-kick.

"Arrives like a witch on a broomstick and produces the hocus pocus in front of goal"

Hudson on Messi