Why did Messi come to the MLS rather than retire and instead work to advance American football?

The revolution created by the arrival of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba at Inter Miami not only ignited the excitement of the fans but also raised a series of questions.

Many comments indicate that the appearance of the former Barcelona players comes at a time when they seem to be about to retire. At 36, 35 and 34, respectively, their ages don’t seem to do much to dispel MLS’s “retirement league” moniker. However, let’s analyze to see that the arrival of Messi does not age the tournament but can also rejuvenate it.

In the match between Inter Miami and FC Dallas in the round of 16 of the Leagues Cup. When the score is 4-3 in favor of Miami, the team will advance if they score the next goal. Who is responsible for taking the decisive penalty? The answer lies with Benjamin Cremaschi, the 18-year-old midfielder who made a cross shot to beat the masters and teachers Gerardo Martino. In addition to Messi, that image can give strength to the American professional award.

Messi celebrates with his junior Cremaschi teammate

In addition to Messi’s excellence, Cremaschi is the face of the direction that MLS seeks to take: using these stars to promote its best projects.

Although Cremaschi came on from the bench, the main kick was Diego Gómez, the 20-year-old Paraguayan midfielder who was in charge of running and covering Busquets, more or less affected by age.

On the Dallas side, the Texas State team lacks players of the caliber of the trio that once made Barcelona history. However, Alan Velasco (21 years old), Jesús Ferreira (22) and Bernard Kamungo (21), author of a goal, once made people believe that Inter Miami’s path in the tournament had come to an end.

Messi creates stimulus for MLS to develop progress

Velasco, one of Independiente’s best players, came to Dallas at age 21 and was the most expensive purchase in club history ($7 million). Ferreira, a Colombian-American, is a product of the FC Dallas academy and played for the United States team in the last World Cup. Kamungo, originally from Tanzania, is a 21-year-old refugee discovered in a local public court.

In recent years, MLS has instituted a host of regulations, from limits on the number of franchise players that can be signed to measures to encourage the use of players under the age of 22. On this last point, MLS allows clubs to spend more money on their rosters, even above the maximum salary, as long as that money has to be passed on to young players. For example, that law allows Diego Gomez to sign with Inter Miami and receive a higher salary than usual.

Messi also has the task of helping young players to increase their competitiveness and mature.

Likewise, the investments of American football teams in academies have grown exponentially. The presence of American players in the best teams in Europe – such as Weston McKennie at Juventus or Ricardo Pepi at PSV Eindhoven – has gone from being a rarity to being a commonplace.

Obviously, MLS has attracted many great stars over time such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and also David Beckham, one of the current owners of Inter Miami. However, if before the players mainly came for the purpose of winning alkali in America, now the stars are looking for ways to compete and help young players to mature.


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