Messi won the 2023 Sportsman of the Year award
League Plus – Argentina and Inter Miami striker Lionel Messi has been named Time magazine’s sportsman of the year.
Messi joined Miami last July and scored 11 goals in 14 matches in all competitions to help the team lift the League Cup, its first title.
The 36-year-old also won his eighth Ballon d’Or in October.
“Lionel Messi did the seemingly impossible this year when he signed for Inter Miami: turned America into a soccer nation,” Time magazine said.
Messi’s arrival led to an increase in spectator attendance, ticket prices, sales of merchandise and viewing of American League matches, the magazine said.
The striker won the award alongside gymnast Simone Biles, swimmer Michael Phelps and NBA star LeBron James.
After leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract, Messi said he had an emotional desire to return to his boyhood club Barcelona, but the move never materialised.
Then it moved to Miami or the Saudi Professional League, which has invested heavily in foreign talent over the past two seasons.
He told Time magazine: “My first choice was to return to Barcelona, but that was not possible.” “I tried to come back and it didn’t happen.”
He continued, “It is also true that I later thought a lot about going to the Saudi league, I know the country and they have developed a very strong competition that could become an important league in the future.
He concluded, “It was either Saudi Arabia or the American Football League, both options seemed very interesting to me.”
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