Is Messi the Answer or the Question at Inter Miami?

Now plying his trade with Inter Miami, is he the answer to all the questions at the franchise?

Whether you’re a seasoned Major League Soccer supporter or you didn’t even know that the US played football, you’ll know a lot more about the American system since summer 2023. Lionel Messi is in town.

A Commercial Success

In many ways, Lionel Messi has already been a success in Inter Miami colors. Literally. His mere link to the club ensures that Inter Miami was googled excessively throughout the globe and replica team jerseys became available to purchase anywhere that operates a local currency. Simply put, he’s taken a team owned by David Beckham and made it relevant to the rapidly expanding newer generation of football fans. Dad likes Beckham, son likes Messi, and grandson will probably like the next hot shot to come to Inter Miami.

Is It a Strategy for Long-Term Success?

Whenever these types of marquee veteran signings get announced there has to be conjecture as to whether it will pay off. Major League Soccer has allowed players like David Beckham, Chicharito, and Andrea Pirlo to gracefully extend their careers – but there’s a few it's spat out along the way. Steve Gerrard, Jermaine Defoe, and Gonzalo Higuain. While Messi hasn’t had a problem making an instant impact, he’s 36 years old. He’s not going to be there forever.

Moreover, he might literally call it a day and set up shop somewhere else. As part of his contract with Major League Soccer, when he retires he will be granted access to special assistance if he wants to set up his own franchise. How does taking his popularity and putting it into a prospective Jacksonville Juniors or Delaware United sound to Inter Miami?

Not Made In-Roads in MLS

It’s worth remembering that Lionel Messi made his debut in the Leagues Cup. He scored 10 goals in seven games, in that competition – not Major League Soccer. Since the resumption of the MLS league, he’s been…injured, mostly. It would be unfair to say he’s not played well as he scored against the New York Red Bulls and assisted goals in the contest against LAFC but he’s just not been there for them.

It's Messi Though

LAFC are the defending champions of Major League Soccer. Messi made them look like chumps in their backyard. BMO Stadium is the epitome of ‘a hard place to go’ in MLS with almost no away team winning there last season. Despite the team struggling a lot more in general this season, they still don’t get made to look out of their depth like Messi made them look.

Given that they are the staple of a good MLS team and Messi proved he’s got more than enough to cope and excel against them, it could be a shrewd league change for the Argentine superstar to extend his glory days. It’s not like they were dwindling either. He had just won the Ligue 1 title in France with Paris Saint-Germain after lifting the World Cup with his beloved Argentina. He’s GOAT status, just like Megan Rapinoe is in the women’s game. So yeah, he should be able to cut it in the Major League Soccer. Until old age takes his legs at least.