MLS commissioner Don Garber: “2023 will go down in history as the year of Lionel Messi”
Ahead of the MLS Cup between Columbus Crew and LAFC, Garber delivered his State of the League address and hailed the Inter Miami star’s impact.
The 2023 season in Major League Soccer has been the most successful in the history of the competition to date. In addition to attendance records being broken in stadiums across the United States, global superstars Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba all opted to continue their careers stateside, signing for David Beckham’s Inter Miami in the summer.
The mere presence of Messi in MLS, a matter of months after he won the World Cup with Argentina, is enough to make fans across the globe sit up and take notice of the league. In Florida, meanwhile, The Herons have revealed that season tickets for DRV PNK Stadium next season have already sold out.
What did Garber say about Messi’s impact on MLS?
Speaking to the press at his annual State of the League address on Friday, MLS commissioner Don Garber hailed the 36-year-old’s decision to move across the Atlantic but also sought to highlight a number of other positive steps taken by the league.
“He is the best player of all time and he came to our league. I think history will look back at 2023 as the year of Messi, but from my perspective, it was perhaps the most spectacular year in our history, for a variety of reasons.
“Lionel Messi took it to a level that probably was hard to imagine, but we had many more things to celebrate. To cap it all off, Messi comes to Miami and overdelivered on so many different levels on the field and off the field, and really delivered on this concept that MLS can be the league of choice for the best players in the world.”
Columbus Crew take on LAFC for MLS Cup
The 2023 MLS season will conclude on Saturday (9 December) when Columbus Crew and LAFC face off at Lower.com Stadium in Ohio for the MLS Cup. Will it be a third title for The Crew or a second consecutive victory for the Californians?
Suárez set to join for Barça teammate Messi in Miami
And there is plenty to get excited about looking ahead to 2024, which will be Messi’s first full year playing in the United States. The Argentine, Busquets and Alba are set to be joined at Inter Miami by former teammate Luis Suárez as the Floridians ex-Barcelona contingent continues to grow.