MLS VP Nelson Rodriguez lauds Messi’s impact
Lionel Messi’s announcement June 7 that he would sign with Inter Miami and Major League Soccer signaled the beginning of a new era for MLS — or, rather, an opportunity to begin a new era. The arrival of Messi and his former Barcelona teammates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets immediately changed the Herons’ fortunes; instead of bottom of the league, La Rosanegra won the Leagues Cup, will play for the U.S. Open Cup, and have captured the soccer world’s imagination with a dramatic late-season run for a playoff berth.
“The Messi Effect” is absolutely a thing. But, if this experiment doesn’t convince MLS to allow more spending for players, ensure it’s schedule accommodates FIFA’s international breaks, and require World-class stadiums with player-friendly playing surfaces, it’s a failed effort.
Our colleague, Manuel Meza of “The View from Avalon”, reported some thoughts MLS Vice President Nelson Rodriguez shared on Messi’s impact to the league.
"… the numbers are incredible. And the impact will not be measured for another 10, 15 or 20 years. It is a pride that he has chosen Inter Miami and the MLS to follow his career."- Nelson Rodriguez on ‘the Messi Effect’
About the difference between the arrivals of Beckham and Messi, Rodriguez said Messi has a different appeal: “(Beckham) was a celebrity, and they knew him outside the sports pages, while Leo won everything in sports, with class and humility… (Messi) is a father with three children, who dedicates goals to them. Seeing that the giants of American sports want to see him shows the respect that he carries around the world.”