Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has provided another perspective on the American Professional Football League (MLS) and is steadfast in his belief in the league’s growth. Rooney responds to Cristiano Ronaldo’s criticism of the MLS after Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami and thinks MLS standards are being underestimated, the Mirror (UK) reports.
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Recently, star of Al Nassr club Cristiano Ronaldo made a shocking and controversial statement: “Saudi Arabia’s Super Pro League is better than the US MLS”. It comes just 24 hours after Lionel Messi made his grand debut at MLS club Inter Miami.
But Ronaldo’s former teammate at MU, Rooney, insists that the MLS is underrated. Rooney is currently a coach of DC United (USA). He insists Inter Miami’s signing of Messi will help ensure the MLS continues to grow and can compete with the wealthy of Saudi Arabia in the battle for the stars.
Wayne Rooney told The Athletic newspaper (UK): “This league (MLS) has all the potential to be one of the biggest. You can see how Saudi Arabia is trying to get certain players. So it means a lot to MLS to get Messi. How best to show that MLS can compete with the rich Saudi Arabia, that is having Messi.”
The transfer of the 2022 World Cup champion to Inter Miami is undoubtedly one of the landmark moments in sports history in America. It makes even more sense when Messi turned down Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal to come to the US to play football, even though Messi is currently the ambassador of Saudi Arabia.
36-year-old Lionel Messi received a rock-star reception at the launch of Inter Miami at DRV PNK Stadium and there’s a lot of excitement regarding Messi’s move to the US to play. But it’s hard to predict the impact of the greatest player in football history on the popularity of football in the US, where sports like basketball or football are the number 1 and number 2.
However, according to former England captain Rooney, there is no doubt that Messi’s arrival is an important step towards improving the MLS. Rooney believes that Messi’s arrival in the MLS will bring many other stars from Europe to the US to play.
Wayne Rooney added: “The excitement of having Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and others coming, MLS will attract attention.”
Former Everton prodigy Wayne Rooney also provides insight into his experience as head coach in the MLS during this crucial transition period, and claims the league is underrated from outsiders looking in.
Wayne Rooney said: “MLS is a high quality league. Downplaying this tournament is perhaps a bit disrespectful.”
Last night and early this morning (July 20), Wayne Rooney was the head coach of the MLS All-Stars team playing a friendly match with Premier League runners-up Arsenal. As a result, the MLS star team lost to the “gunners” 0-5. Last season, Rooney led DC United to 9th place in the MLS Eastern Conference.