Nine Inter Miami players nominated for MLS postseason awards

Major League Soccer announced end-of-season award nominations last week; Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba all received nods.

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi has been nominated for the Major League Soccer Landon Donovan MVP Award.
Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi has been nominated for the Major League Soccer Landon Donovan MVP Award. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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How was Messi nominated for MVP and Newcomer awards?

Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest player ever to kick a soccer ball, but he was in no conceivable way the most valuable player in Major League Soccer in 2023. Nor was he the Newcomer of the Year. Teammate and fellow Barcelona alumnus Sergio Busquets also shouldn’t be on the short list for the MLS Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player Award (although he has a case for the Newcomer honor).

The MVP award is based on league play, not all competitions. Messi has a goal and two assists in five MLS appearances (282 minutes played) — NOT impressive in any way.

Busquets has started eight of nine league matches in which he’s played and racked up 750 minutes. The midfielder has no goals and just one assist, but his passing has been spectacular — he’s completing 91.4 percent of his passes and more than 78 percent on long passes. Still, the slight body of work doesn’t justify a season award.

So why are they nominated for those recognitions? Simple, really: the MLS lets teams nominate award candidates, two each for some categories. And Inter Miami is all about hyping its high-profile additions, reason be darned.

Inter Miami midfielder Sergio Busquets passes the captain’s armband to Lionel Messi during Saturday’s match against Cincinnati.
Inter Miami midfielder Sergio Busquets passes the captain’s armband to Lionel Messi during Saturday’s match against Cincinnati. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports