Lionel Messi has completely revolutionized the US market. Since the arrival of the Argentine star in Miami, the social and economic impact has been brutal at all levels. Nelson Rodriguez, Executive Vice President of Sports Product and Competition of the MLS, spoke about this topic and many more, during his time at Ole Summit Sports (h/t AS).
Rodriguez wanted to give dimension to the arrival of a player like Messi to a growing market, recapitulating and comparing it with the arrival of other stars, like David Beckham, and assuming that this movement would have an impact on football for several years and even decades.
“The league has grown extremely since its beginning in 1996. Since 2008, we have dedicated ambition. We wanted whether you were a player, coach, or referee, MLS to be your destination league. And Messi has shown it. It is noted that Beckham was there in 2007 and had a great impact on bringing Messi to Miami, in addition to the Mas brothers, who convinced Messi. That growth is due to the owners”, Rodriguez began by saying.
When asked about what Lionel Messi represents for the MLS, the vice president wanted to make it clear that the Argentine star "is something else". Adding that "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”.
Regarding the difference between the arrival of David Beckham to the LA Galaxy in 2007 and the recent arrival of Messi, Rodriguez commented that “Messi is common, he is different from Beckham: he was a celebrity, and they knew him outside the sports pages while Leo won everything in sports, with class and humility (...) He 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”.