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Lionel Messi named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year

Argentina and Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi has been named Time magazine's Athlete of the Year.

Argentina and Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi has been named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year.

A Transformative Journey: Messi’s Stint in Miami

Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami in July marked a milestone, yielding 11 goals in 14 games across various competitions, culminating in Miami’s inaugural Leagues Cup victory. 

His outstanding performance earned him an eighth Ballon d’Or in October, adding to his illustrious career achievements.

Revolutionizing U.S. Soccer: Messi’s Influence

Time magazine hailed Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami as a groundbreaking moment, credited with transforming the landscape of soccer in the U.S. The Argentine’s presence sparked an upsurge in game attendances, ticket sales, merchandise interest, and overall viewership of MLS matches.

A Dilemma and Choices

After parting ways with Paris St-Germain, Messi’s heartfelt desire was to return to his beloved boyhood club, Barcelona. 

However, this reunion never materialized, leading him to weigh his options between Inter Miami and a prospective move to the Saudi Pro League, renowned for its substantial investment in international talent.

The Decision Process

Messi revealed that despite his initial preference for a Barcelona return, circumstances prevented it from happening. He contemplated a potential move to the dynamic Saudi league, acknowledging its promising trajectory as a competitive soccer platform. 

Ultimately, the choice came down to embracing the challenges and opportunities presented by both the Saudi league and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Reflecting on the Options

In Messi’s own words to Time magazine, “My initial choice was Barcelona, but circumstances didn’t allow it. I tried, and it didn’t work out. Later, I seriously considered joining the Saudi league, recognizing its potential, and it was Saudi Arabia or MLS, both highly intriguing prospects for me.”

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