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LEAGUES CUP 2023

Landon Donovan: “It’s incredible what’s happening right now with Lionel Messi”

The former USMNT captain spoke about the impact that the Argentinian World Cup winner has had since signing for Inter Miami.

Estados UnidosUpdate:
“Es increíble lo que está pasando en USA con Messi”
KEVIN C. COXAFP

Within a month of arriving in Miami, Lionel Messi has led his new team to the first trophy in their history. Inter Miami lifted the Leagues Cup on Saturday evening after a thrilling penalty shoot out victory over Nashville SC.

Ahead of the final, former player and USMNT legend Landon Donovan told TUDN that the Messi phenomenon is unprecedented in the United States, surpassing anything he witnessed when David Beckham signed for LA Galaxy.

“I didn’t think Messi’s arrival was going to be crazy. Beckham’s arrival touched me, but what’s happening right now with Messi is incredible,” Donovan explained.

He continued: ”I didn’t have to play against Messi, that’s why I have six championships! I think that for the moment he is still the best player in the world and he can win the title here in MLS.”

Lionel Messi scored the opener in the Leagues Cup final and lifted the trophy for Inter Miami.
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Lionel Messi scored the opener in the Leagues Cup final and lifted the trophy for Inter Miami.TIM NWACHUKWUAFP

Donovan: ‘Messi’s debut was special’

Major League Soccer has ranked Landon Donovan as the greatest American male soccer player of all time. Alongside his six MLS Cup triumphs, Donovan was named the Best Young Player at the 2002 World Cup and he finished his career as the second-highest MLS goal scorer of all time.

However even he has been awe-struck by the impact that Messi has had on Inter Miami and soccer in the US more broadly. Interest in the game has soared and tickets to watch Miami are among the most highly sought-after in American sport.

Miami’s journey to their Leagues Cup triumph has featured countless moments of Messi magic, but for Donovan it was his first appearance that will stick in the memory. Messi came off the bench on his Miami debut to score an injury time winner with a stunning free kick.

Donovan explained: “For me Messi’s first game was special, because we all thought that Inter Miami would continue badly. But from his first minute on the field we could see that he is the GOAT.”

Messi’s status as the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ will remain the subject of furious and unyielding debate, but no one can argue with the impact that he has made in his first month in Miami.