Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi has been nominated for the 2023 Landon Donovan MLS MVP award. The Argentine only just joined his new club in mid-July, more than halfway through the current campaign. Although he has racked up some impressive statistics in a short period of time, most of Messi’s goals have not come in MLS play.

Messi has played 12 total matches for Miami so far this season. The 36-year-old winger also scored 11 goals and added five assists during these fixtures. Nevertheless, 10 of his 11 goals came during the team’s successful Leagues Cup run. Messi guided his new teammates to the title, Miami’s first-ever trophy. This, however, means that the star has scored just one Major League Soccer goal. Messi has also just played four total MLS games as well.

Clubs are responsible for nominating players

The North American league is not necessarily fully at fault for the confusing selection. MLS clubs currently determine nominations for MVP and other annual awards. Each team can highlight a maximum of two players for each award. Along with MVP, other awards include Goalkeeper of the Year, Young Player of the Year, and Newcomer of the Year. Messi was also nominated in the latter category as well.

Once the nominations are in place, three separate groups are responsible for the final voting process. MLS players, MLS coaches (including technical directors and general managers) and select media members will vote on the awards. Official voting is set to start on Oct. 10 and will continue for 13 days.

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Fellow Miami newcomer joins Messi on MLS MVP list

Messi’s teammate, Sergio Busquets, was also nominated for the MLS MVP as well. The former Barcelona midfielder joined Miami the day after Messi signed with the club. However, Busquets has at least played eight total MLS matches this season.

Full list of Landon Donovan MLS MVP nominees:

Acosta, Luciano (CIN)
Almada, Thiago (ATL)
Artur (HOU)
Benteke, Christian (DC)
Blake, Andre (PHI)
Bouanga, Dénis (LAFC)
Bürki, Roman (STL)
Busquets, Sergio (MIA)
Carranza, Julián (PHI)
Choinière, Mathieu (MTL)
Espinoza, Cristian (SJ)
Ferreira, Jesús (DAL)
Frei, Stefan (SEA)
Gauld, Ryan (VAN)
Giakoumakis, Giorgos (ATL)
Gil, Carles (NE)
Hernández, Cucho (CLB)
Herrera, Héctor (HOU)
Messi, Lionel (MIA)
Morris, Jordan (SEA)
Mukhtar, Hany (NSH)
Parks, Keaton (NYC)
Puig, Riqui (LA)
Pulido, Alan (SKC)
Reynoso, Emanuel (MIN)
Rodríguez, Santiago (NYC)
Sirois, Jonathan (MTL)
Swiderski, Karol (CLT)
Thommy, Erik (SKC)
Torres, Facundo (ORL)

PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire