Lionel Messi says he dreams of playing soccer in the United States, giving MLS fans renewed hopes of seeing the star stateside
- Lionel Messi could wind up playing in the United States.
- The six-time Ballon d'Or winner told Spanish TV station La Sexta that he "would like to play in the United States someday" and that "it's always been one of my dreams."
- Though MLS is unlikely to land Messi immediately following his FC Barcelona expiration in 2021, the 33-year-old could join the likes of NYCFC or Inter Miami later in his career.
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Lionel Messi stateside?
It may not be as far-fetched as it seems.
In a wide-ranging interview with Spanish TV station La Sexta, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner hinted that he could, eventually, wind up landing with a Major League Soccer team and that he "dreams" of experiencing life in the United States.
"I would like to play in the United States someday, it's always been one of my dreams," Messi told journalist Jordi Évole. "… But I don't know if it will happen!"
MLS fans and team owners have long aspired to recruit an international superstar of Messi's stature to the league. And during the height of his battle to leave FC Barcelona this past fall, the speedy offensive weapon was rumored to be on the verge of signing with Manchester City with an eventual option to join its MLS sister club, New York City FC.
Inter Miami — where Manchester United-turned-LA Galaxy legend David Beckham is running the show — also appears to be in the mix for the 33-year-old's talents. Beckham and Messi have a personal relationship, and the former England national team captain has previously said Inter Miami intends "to bring in big name players from Europe into our city" should the opportunity present itself.
"Every team in the world would want Messi and Ronaldo on their teams, but we always talked about us being different from any other team, which I am sure every other owner says exactly the same thing," Beckham told Reuters at the start of 2020. "So that's what we will try to do. If we have the opportunity to bring big name players in then great. We're lucky we have an ownership group that has that vision and wants to succeed and has that competitiveness where we want the best players."
Messi's contract with Barcelona expires in 2021, and there's a chance he'll finally part ways with the only professional club he's ever known at this season's end. Even though the Argentinian international said during the recent La Sexta interview that he loves Barcelona because "it is my life," he also acknowledged that "the club is having a difficult moment … and it's going to be difficult to return where we once were."
No matter where he lands, Messi will undoubtedly bring a huge audience — and command an even bigger paycheck. We'll just have to wait to see which fandom wins out in what could arguably be the biggest sweepstakes in soccer history.
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