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Messi's Miami Odyssey: MLS's Path to Glory

Updated: 2 days ago

In the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Manchester United to Saudi Arabia, the global football landscape witnessed an unprecedented transformation. Elite players, including Fabinho, Neymar, Sadio Mane, Karim Benzema, and numerous others, have followed suit, forsaking the world's top leagues. The primary catalyst behind these transfers is the substantial financial incentives offered by Saudi clubs—an offer too enticing to refuse.

Concurrently, Lionel Messi's transfer to Major League Soccer (MLS) has ignited numerous inquiries regarding his ability to replicate Ronaldo's impact in the Saudi's Premiership. Messi's MLS debut with Inter Miami has been nothing short of sensational, solidifying his status as the most high-profile signing in MLS history.

Initially, rumors swirled about a potential return to Barcelona FC after his departure from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). However, Messi ultimately chose to join Inter Miami FC, stating, "I genuinely wanted to return, but after enduring the tumultuous exit I had, I was unwilling to subject myself to a similar situation, waiting in uncertainty for my future. I preferred not to leave my destiny in the hands of others."

While Messi fielded offers from Saudi Arabia and several European clubs, the allure of MLS and a slightly more subdued media spotlight proved enticing. Kristel Valencia, Senior Director of International Communications at Major League Soccer, emphasizes the remarkable strides made by MLS, asserting it as the world's fastest-growing league. Messi's arrival at CF Inter Miami, alongside teammates Busquets and Alba, promises to elevate MLS to new heights, contributing to the exponential growth of soccer in North America. Notably, the subscription count for Apple TV, the official broadcasting channel of MLS, nearly doubled following Messi's arrival.

In terms of performance, Messi's impact has been staggering. In 11 appearances for Inter Miami, he has registered 11 goals and provided eight assists, propelling the club to an unbeaten record of 10 wins, one draw, and zero losses in matches where Messi has featured. Messi has already secured one trophy with Inter Miami—the 2023 Leagues Cup.

The deployment of the formidable trio of Messi, Alba, and Busquets in the attacking lineup has rendered their victories almost inevitable. Inter Miami has triumphed in all six matches Messi has participated in, including a shootout victory over FC Dallas. This contrasts sharply with their previous form, characterized by a winless streak of six matches before Messi's arrival and just four wins in their preceding 14 matches across all competitions.

Furthermore, Messi's influence extends beyond the pitch, as evidenced by the league's economic gains in sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and ticket and jersey sales. His presence serves as a magnet for business interests. Contrary to initial skepticism that he came to MLS to "retire" rather than win titles, Messi has delivered his finest footballing form.

In his first 24 hours with Inter Miami, Lionel Messi broke records previously held by Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, and Tom Brady, for the highest number of jerseys sold on the first day. As Messi continues to make history, the future promises to yield even more exhilarating records and achievements.

This remarkable shift in football dynamics, with Ronaldo's Saudi venture and Messi's MLS journey, has undoubtedly reshaped the sport's global landscape.


1] - ESPN

2] - GOAL

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