‘Minor League’ – Lionel Messi shares honest assessment of MLS after first season

During a recent interview in Argentina, Lionel Messi conceded that the MLS is a “minor league,” when asked about his status for the competition in 2026.

Lionel Messi is a finalist for the MLS Newcomer of the Year award - The San  Diego Union-Tribune

Messi recently reflected on his World Cup success last year and considered his international future. When asked about his priorities for Argentina, the World Cup-winning captain stated that playing in a lower-level league may allow him to continue his international career.

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

“As long as I feel that I’m fine and can continue contributing, I’m going to do it,” he continued. “Today, the only thing I think about is getting to the Copa America well and being able to compete in it.”

Lionel Messi scores twice, including late freekick, as Inter Miami advances  to MLS Leagues Cup quarterfinals on penalties | CNN

Continuing the discussion, Messi explained that his previous words were not meant to attack Major League Soccer. Last season, Messi played 11 games in 44 days for Inter Miami, demonstrating his passion to the team.

He then proceeded to Argentina, where he played against Ecuador, and then to Bolivia, where he chose not to play. He returned to South Florida after completing his overseas obligations. Manager Tata Martino stressed that Messi’s condition was due to exhaustion rather than an injury.

Messi was absent from five important MLS games near the end of the season. The impact of his absence was palpable, with the Chicago Fire making a statement and offering partial ticket refunds to disgruntled supporters who had expected to see Messi in action during their October encounter.

Messi celebrated his seventh Ballon d'Or with Inter Miami

Messi has always prioritized his national team throughout his career, despite years of failure. His fortunes with international success improved when Argentina won the Copa America in 2021, reviving his ambition to compete.

His international career culminated when Argentina won the World Cup after years of hard work. Initially, the Argentine was said to be thinking about retiring from international competition. Despite this, he discovered newfound vigor and passion for continued involvement with the club following the triumph.

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