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Lionel Messi Reignites the Spark the MLS Once Had

photo Pacer Staff
Messi’s Inter Miami’s home kit for for the 2022-2023 season is popular in soccer shops all over New York City.

Lionel Messi, widely regarded as the G.O.A.T, made headlines with his move to Major League Soccer (MLS). After spending his entire professional career at FC Barcelona, Messi shocked the football world by joining an MLS team, Inter Miami.

His move to the MLS reignites the spark the league had back in the David Beckham, Thiery Henry and Kaká era. MLS has been the home of many other star players like David Villa, Drogba, Steven Gerrard and many more.

As a Messi fan the move was highly unexpected as many were expecting him to join the Saudi League giants, Al Hilal, which would’ve sparked the rivalry once again between him and Cristiano Ronaldo. There were also rumors of Messi joining the English club Manchester City where he could’ve reunited with Pep Guardiola, the coach of Barcelona during the 2011 UCL season.

Long time Messi fans like myself have been expecting Messi to return to Barcelona but it seems like that dream is almost very unlikely to come true due to the club’s financial situation. The club’s drowning in debts, with bills skyrocketing past £1 billion between 2018 and 2020. Substantial debts including transfer-fee installments, back tax, deferred wages, and unpaid suppliers’ bills, has created a challenging scenario that has yet to be resolved.

The move of Messi to the MLS generated immense excitement among fans and media alike. His arrival in the league was seen as a major milestone that would elevate the profile of football in the United States. With his exceptional skills, Messi was expected to bring a new level of competitiveness and attract more attention to the MLS.

Ever since Messi’s move, the league has added to their list of star players. Inter Miami has signed Sergio Busquets, arguably one of the best central defensive midfielders, and Jordi Alba, another long time Barcelona player, to pair up with Messi.

Adidas, the renowned sportswear brand, had been Messi’s long-time sponsor and continued to support him in his transition to the MLS. Adidas released the Crazyfast Messi cleats in collaboration between Adidas and Inter Miami CF.
As a die hard Messi fan, I knew I had to get my hands on the Inter Miami away kit and surely I did.

The combination of pink and black is drop dead gorgeous. This partnership not only showcased the mutual trust and loyalty between Messi and Adidas but also contributed to the overall promotion and commercial success of the MLS.
The Apple TV’s deal has also been a game changer for me as a fan. Having access to all MLS matches at my fingertips has allowed me to follow the league much more closely. I find myself tuning in for games I normally wouldn’t have watched pre-Apple TV. The convenience and top-notch production quality has made me more invested in the MLS than ever before.

Not only did Messi’s move to the MLS create a buzz within the league, but it also had a significant impact on the global football landscape. The signing of such a high-profile player demonstrated the growing influence and appeal of the MLS on the international stage.

As a fan, I awaited Messi’s debut in the MLS, curious to see how he would adapt to the different style of play as well as the new team. The anticipation surrounding his first match reached unprecedented levels, with stadiums selling out and ticket prices skyrocketing. It was a surreal experience to witness the excitement and energy that Messi brought to the league. Lionel Messi was substituted in on his debut game, on June 21, 2023, and scored a goal in stoppage time at the 89th minute to win the game for Inter Miami 2-1 against Cruz Azul in the leagues cup.

The experience of watching Messi play in the MLS has been nothing short of surreal. His skill, agility, and sheer brilliance on the field have been a joy to behold. It’s as if every game he plays brings an added level of excitement and energy to the entire league.

Ever since Inter Miami was eliminated from playoff contention, the hype around this whole MLS situation died out. Up until recently the signing of Luis Suarez, a close friend and former Barcelona teammate of Messi, joined Inter Miami after spending two years with Gremio in Brazil. Suarez has been a favorite of mine ever since his time at Liverpool and I’m interested in seeing how the 2024-2025 season treats him.

I believe that the reunion of Messi and Suarez is impeccable as they were an outstanding duo at Barcelona. These huge signings set Inter Miami to be one of the favorites to win the league this upcoming season. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to see Messi face off against some of his biggest rivals in a series of preseason friendlies.

The match against Al-Hilal will feature Neymar, Messi’s former teammate at Barcelona and member of the legendary Messi Suarez Neymar (MSN) trio.

While Neymar is currently injured, the mere prospect of him playing against Messi again generates plenty of excitement. However, the biggest game on the schedule has to be against Al-Nassr and Cristiano Ronaldo. The long-time rivals have had an intense rivalry through the years.

Getting to see them compete on the same field once more in the twilight of their careers feels like a special, can’t-miss event. These preseason games will bring together the football fans worldwide who eagerly anticipate Messi colliding with the game’s other star players.

Messi’s transformative impact on the club has elevated standards and influenced other players, solidifying his legacy as a game changer on the pitch and off the pitch. Ever since Messi has joined the club, Inter Miami have been on the run to win everything, the past season they took home the Leagues Cup.

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Anim Sams
Anim Sams, Reporter

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