The first competitive match of 2024 saw Inter Miami triumph, thanks in large part to Lionel Messi’s performance. With a goal from Robert Taylor and an assist from Messi, the Herons got off to a winning start.

The 2024 season will be Messi’s shining moment after his incredible debut in Major League Soccer last year. With his superstar qualities potentially propelling Miami to the championship, he has become the most renowned player in the game.

His Miami move has already had an impact, and his presence in MLS will further boost soccer interest. Now, Messi was voted the US’ most popular athlete, becoming the first soccer player to attain this honor.

What made Messi the most popular athlete in US?

The United States now possesses Lionel Messi as their most prized possession. When it comes to national appeal, the veteran has been flying high.

So much so that he has surpassed legendary athletes like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Tiger Woods to become the most beloved athlete in the United States. No one could predict how drastically a free soccer transfer would later alter American sports.

A top sports research firm, Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS), conducts the survey quarterly. Soccer has always had a hard time breaking through, according to the findings of SSRS’s Sports Poll. They have been asking Americans to choose their favorite professional athlete since 1994.

Despite receiving less than 5% of the vote in the most recent survey, Messi topped the list of voters. The United States of America’s favorite athlete over the last two quarters was Michael Jordan, a retired NBA great. He also received less than 5% of the vote in each.

From 1995 until 2006, Jordan had the top spot for more than a decade, reaching a high of over 20% in 1998. Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, LeBron James, and Tiger Woods are among the athletes named the most popular in the United States.

Messi vs Ronaldo in US

When Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2023, his fame in the United States increased. He arrived in Miami, but he was already the most beloved professional soccer player in the United States.

A few months after guiding Argentina to victory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Messi’s popularity in the United States surpassed that of his fierce rival Cristiano Ronaldo by a factor of three. In the United States, his popularity has surpassed that of Ronaldo by a factor of four.

The 36-year-old’s popularity skyrocketed to 9.7 percent in 2022, the year he won the World Cup. The graph has been steadily increasing to 14.7% since the start of 2023, and it made a significant leap to 21.3% after his signing with David Beckham’s soccer team. On the other hand, Ronaldo’s graph has been very low since 2022 and stays at a consistent 5%.

There will be much discussion in the athletic world over these astounding figures. The fact that Inter Miami is profiting so greatly off its superstar player’s presence further establishes Messi’s domination in the United States.