By Mariajose Fernandez
This year, we witnessed how some of the best soccer players from our generation slowly vanished from the Major Leagues of European soccer and sought a calmer life with their families after decades of valuable triumphs and long careers.
After the 2022 World Cup, Lionel Andres Messi was one of them after becoming world champion with his beloved national team of Argentina as captain for the first time. This July, the greatest of all time officially joined Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami CF and serves as captain.
He is an eight-time Ballon d'Or winner, a ten-time La Liga champion, a four-time UEFA Champions League winner, and captain of the Argentine National Team for over ten years.
Many soccer fans never thought a player with this much experience and value would end up playing for an MLS team that is so brand new, but the world champion's focus shifted from fulfilling the dreams of a lifetime to pursuing a calmer lifestyle in his final years as a soccer player before retiring.
“Messi's arrival to the MLS was a big surprise to me since it's not a competitive league that plays all year. With Messi's arrival is the chance to increase the popularity of soccer here in the United States since the focus of attention is right now here,” said Juan Wulff, a senior majoring in applied sports and exercise science “They must do whatever they can to keep the focus and the people involved after the Messi era. As a soccer fan, I got more interested in the MLS since they are recruiting big names in the sport like Messi.”
The decision to sign Messi was one of the smartest moves Inter Miami CF made. David Beckham, a former professional soccer star and one of the majority owners of the team was the main author for this dream to come true. His football career also left but the impact he leaves in the sports business is even more impressive, seeing how Inter Miami CF is rising the ranks in record time.
Messi’s arrival has motivated young athletes who love soccer here in America to continue working for their dreams.
“Messi moves a lot of money, a lot of sales, a lot of people. It's crucial for the development of the sport here in the U.S.,” said Juan Simoniello, a senior majoring in sports management.
It's been the year of the soccer revolution in America. The Copa América will take place in June 2024, with FIFA Club World Cup in 2025, and the FIFA World Cup in 2026.