Inter Miami star Lionel Messi labeled Major League Soccer, the league he plays in, as a minor league compared to the rest of the sport. The Argentine reaffirmed his commitment and sole focus on Argentina in a recent interview with Star+ about his time with La Albiceleste.
Messi joined Major League Soccer in the summer of 2023 after his contract at PSG expired. He immediately led Inter Miami to success in the inaugural Leagues Cup. However, he could not help Inter Miami into the MLS Cup Playoffs. That said, Inter Miami did turn its form around dramatically with Messi in the fold. Before his arrival, Inter Miami was arguably the worst team in the league. Now, it is the most popular.
Still, Messi says his entire focus is on the Argentina national team. That includes preparations for the Copa America this coming summer and potentially playing in the World Cup in 2026. Argentina is the defending champions of both.
“I am also aware that I went to a minor league,” Messi said. “As long as I feel that I’m fine and I can continue contributing, I’m going to do it. Today the only thing I think about is getting to the Copa América well and being able to compete in it.”
In other words, Messi sees Inter Miami as a way to stay fit for games with Argentina without overly exerting himself or potentially injuring himself in the strenuous nature of European competition. Later in the interview, Messi did not say his intention was to attack Major League Soccer. Regardless, he does see it as inferior to other competitions and leagues he has played in.
Messi takes stab at Major League Soccer so he can prepare for Argentina
On several occasions in his first season with Inter Miami, Messi showed his priorities. He avoided games with Inter Miami while Argentina began its qualification cycle for the 2026 World Cup. Then, while nursing an injury, Messi missed games with Inter Miami to ensure he was at maximum fitness with Argentina.
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It is hard to blame Messi for saying Argentina is more important than Inter Miami. He said his recent successes at the Copa America in 2021 or the World Cup in 2022 allowed him to complete his career goals. At the same time, it pushes him to get back to the top of the soccer world.
“It seemed that after the World Cup I was retiring and quite the opposite. Now I want to be there more than ever. After suffering for so many years, today when we live a special moment that I have never experienced before, I want to enjoy it to the fullest.”
Inter Miami and Argentina inactive for rest of year
Messi’s comments on the health of the Argentina team and himself comes at an opportune time. Inter Miami is not playing until January with the beginning of its preseason. Argentina is off duty until the next international break in the new year. Therefore, Messi can nurse his body back to health for his first full season with Inter Miami.
“Being world champion changed me in the tranquility that at work, in quotes because it is still a job, I was able to achieve everything,” Messi said.
He can add MLS success to that job when the 2024 season begins in February.
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