Quickly now, who does Cristiano Ronaldo play for in the Saudi Pro League?
Yeah, while all these aging soccer superstars heading to Saudi Arabia will end up craving for attention, Lionel Messi made the right decision to spurn the Saudi dollars and come to the U.S. His arrival in the United States has been nothing short of phenomenal:
- Before Leo announced he was joining the MLS, Inter Miami had 1.3 followers on Instagram. Following his arrival just a few short weeks ago, Inter Miami now has 14.3 million followers on Instagram.
- MLS’ Inter Miami has become an instant global brand taking advantage of Messi’s whopping 483 million followers on Instagram.
- On X (formerly Twitter) Inter Miami now has over one million followers after having barely over 200,000 a few weeks ago. Messi doesn’t have a Twitter account because he closely guards his personal life.
- Before Messi arrived, Inter Miami was last in MLS attendance with 12,821 fans per game. Now, the team’s games are sold out as long as No. 10 is around.
Let’s face it, if Ronaldo got a $220 million deal for 2 years and Neymar reportedly snagged $300 million of Saudi loot, Messi’s take would have been astronomic. He decided instead to team up with David Beckham’s Inter Miami,Apple and the MLS.
Timing is everything and the MLS has been on an upswing of late with many franchises increasing in value rather rapidly even though critics scoff at the league’s importance globally.
Messi is going to decidedly accelerate the growth of the MLS especially with his appeal to a demographic that is younger than the NFL and much younger than MLB.
Who knows the real reasons Messi chose to come to America. Could be his wife and family concerns. Maybe he was tired of playing overseas and wanted to be closer to Argentina.
Perhaps Beckham performed an unbelievable sales pitch with Apple. Chances are, we’ll never know, especially from the tight-lipped Messi.
Regardless of the reason, it’s just downright refreshing to see a world renowned athlete turn down the huge payday.
In less than two months, Messi has already provided the American soccer loving public with some amazing highlights.
Can’t wait to see what the future holds for Messi in the pink jersey.
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