Home Soccer Messi Joining Inter Miami Makes US Soccer Shine

Messi Joining Inter Miami Makes US Soccer Shine


Lionel Messi Joining Inter Miami Makes US Soccer Shine

Lionel Andres Messi is a living legend in the soccer world – and he could be the spark that is needed to ignite the MLS and make soccer rise to the same level of popularity in the US that football, baseball, basketball, and hockey have achieved.

Sportsbooks have already started preparing for the Messi changes – reworking promos as they expect soccer betting to increase in the US. And it isn’t only the operators who are getting excited – ticket prices and attendance levels are set to soar to new heights even without the transfer having happened yet.

So, what makes Messi such a superstar?

Who is Messi?

Messi might be one of the best footballers ever, let alone the best player in Argentina. He spent most of his career winning practically every trophy and accolade with Barcelona, before moving to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

His indominable playing style is part of his charm – though short in stature, he is agile and strong, with speed and balance that make him a great (and versatile) forward player.

Although predominantly left-footed, Messi has played on both the left and the right when attacking, although he often finds success playing in what is known as the ‘false nine’ position, getting space in the center or even playing in from behind.

This versatility, along with his humble nature, is what has made him as popular as he is talented – while the likes of Ronaldo are playing off their personality as much as their skill, the sponsors who support Messi are about the pure ‘sport’, rather than anything off the pitch.

With all that in mind, it is worth mentioning that Messi, who took the Argentina squad to World Cup glory in Dubai, will be playing for Inter Miami as a 36-year-old following the tradition of European footballers coming to the US for a slower pace of play in a league with less expectations.

The Beckham Difference

Messi Joining Inter Miami Makes US Soccer Shine

Inter Miami is a relative newcomer in the MLS. Bought by David Beckham along with some business partners, the Miami team hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in terms of performance – in fact, they are languishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference at the moment – but as a team, they have one thing that sets them apart – Beckham.

Beckham in the USA

While Messi might be the reason that the MLS shines, he wouldn’t have got here if it weren’t for the trailblazing David Beckham.

Taking a change in pace to heart, Beckham signed with LA Galaxy in 2007. His five-year deal meant that the whole league structure had to change – creating a so-called ‘designated person’ role in the team to allow them to be paid more salary.

That became quite the draw for many – suddenly, stadiums were selling out as US supporters wanted to see the superstar player, and it made the MLS have so much more of a spotlight than it had ever had since it was created in 1996.

Beckham had a clause as part of his contract that he could buy a future MLS expansion team, and that was Inter Miami. Playing their first match in 2020, they are looking to increase their playing potential (and marketability) by attracting some big names – and Messi certainly fits the bill.

Can Messi Make the MLS Less of an Afterthought?

It would be inaccurate to say that soccer is not popular in America as a whole. The difference is that with so many other already established sports (and their leagues) taking precedence.

The hype for Messi is real though. The transfer market doesn’t even open until 5th July, and that is the earliest that Messi could play  – and he hasn’t even formally signed the contract yet.

It is not known how much this opportunity is worth to Messi, but we do know a few things about the deal – namely, that he turned down an eye-watering sum from Saudi Arabia to play for Miami.

While a move back to his beloved Barcelona was kiboshed thanks to the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules, the Saudi offer was reported to have been worth more than $400 million – but with Miami, Messi can enjoy himself a bit more.

Alongside the currently undisclosed salary, Messi has an extended deal with Adidas, and since working with Apple on a four-part documentary, it seems he might be in for a slice of the action from subscriptions to Apple TV’s MLS service.

With all this in mind, the early predictions seem to be that Messi is going to ignite the MLS – and with ticket prices to games that he might be playing in selling at more than five times the amount a normal game would, it seems that soccer fans are getting excited about it already.

Messi will bring higher attendance at games and make the MLS the subject of global attention – and who knows what other players might follow his lead.

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