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Fans Cheer as GOAT Messi Joins Major League Soccer

By Jake Beardslee · July 18, 2023

Former soccer star Wayne Rooney says Lionel Messi's move to MLS club Inter Miami will transform the League and the sport.  Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It’s official! The world’s greatest soccer player, Lionel Messi, is headed to Major League Soccer club Inter Miami. Generally acknowledged as the greatest player of all time, the Argentine superstar was cheered by a statuim full of rain-soaked fans at a welcoming ceremony Sunday as his new team’s DRV PNK Stadium. A seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi joins Inter Miami when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires this summer.

English soccer legend and DC United coach Wayne Rooney told Sky News that Miami’s acquisition of Messi will be “a great move obviously for the MLS…I think commercially I think it’ll be huge…[and] draw interest again from different regions of the world. I’m sure it will do that as well because you’re getting arguably the best player to ever play the game.”

Rooney believes Messi’s competitive juices are intact and predicts the star will more Inter Miami up the MLS standings. “I think not just for fans, for coaches, players - I think everyone’s excited to have him in the league,” saidmRooney.

Messi, 35, has already had a storied career with Barcelona and the Argentine national team. His arrival represents a major coup for MLS as it continues to attract global superstars. According to Rooney, Messi’s move will draw worldwide interest and excitement to the North American league.

Inter Miami, part-owned by David Beckham, will almost certainly see big benefits commercially from Messi’s presence. And while Rooney expects Messi to have a significant impact on the club’s on-field fortunes, the coach separately told the Times of London that superstar “won’t find it easy [in the MLS]. It sounds mad, but players who come in find it’s a tough league. The traveling, the different conditions in different cities, and there’s a lot of energy and intensity on the pitch.”

Light Wave commentary

The impending arrival of Lionel Messi to MLS is major development, signaling the league is growing worldwide standing. While some may view Messi’s move as a highly lucrative final lap to a storied career, the Argentine megastar likely has enough gas left in the tank to electrify American crowds. And if he can do that, his signing with Inter Miami will be a transformative moment for MLS, which will surely gain even more traction when the World Cup arrives in North American in 2026 World Cup. Until then, North American fans will have the unique opportunity to watch Messi, generally considered to be soccer’s all-time greatest.