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NY Post
New York Post
2 Dec 2023

NextImg:Lionel Messi calls MLS ‘minor league’ while revealing potential World Cup status

Lionel Messi uttered the two words MLS likely would have appreciated if he hadn’t.

The league and Inter Miami rolled out the red carpet for the soccer superstar, who made the jump to the MLS from Paris-St. Germain last July.

Messi, 36, signed a massive contract that will earn him between $50-60 million annually through 2025, including him getting a cut of MLS Season Pass subscription on Apple+ as well as his Adidas merchandise.

He made it look easy upon his arrival to the league, scoring 11 goals in 14 games and immediately spiking interest in Inter Miami games.

Messi however didn’t paint the level of competition in the league in the best light when asked in an interview with Star+ but his priorities in 2024.

“I said it several times and it is a reality – I will always try to compete to the maximum and I am the first to know when I can be there and when I can’t,” Messi told the outlet.

“I am also aware that I went to a minor league, but a lot happens because of the way one faces it and competes.”

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF hoist his trophy during the Ballon d’Or trophy presentation at DRV PNK Stadium on November 10, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Getty Images

The club went on a 12-game unbeaten run and won its first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup, but injuries took their toll on Messi at times. 

The team’s poor start kept it from reaching the MLS playoffs at 9-7-18.

Messi, who won his record eighth Ballon d’Ors this season, does want to continue to compete on the world stage for as long as he feels he is able.

He said he is focused on helping Argentina defend its 2021 Copa America title next summer when it’s help in Atlanta and Miami.

“As long as I feel good and I can continue to deliver, I’m going to (continue playing with Argentina). All I’m thinking about today is getting to the Copa América and being able to play in it,” he said.

Lionel Messi looks to attack for Inter Miami,
Lionel Messi looks to attack for Inter Miami, Getty Images

He also didn’t rule out doing the same in the 2026 World Cup, but knows his age could be an issue as Argentina will look to defend another championship. 

“Then time will tell whether I’ll be at the World Cup or not,” Messi said. “I’m going to be at an age (39) that normally doesn’t allow me to play in the World Cup.”