Lionel Messi named ‘Athlete of the Year’ by TIME Magazine

TIME magazine acknowledges Messi’s exceptional year, celebrating his contributions both on and off the field

Messi also has record eight Ballon d’Or titles – AFP

Argentine football star Lionel Messi has been crowned TIME’s Athlete of the Year for 2023, surpassing renowned athletes Erling Haaland and Novak Djokovic.

With his record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or, Messi solidified his status as a football legend.


Messi’s pivotal move to Inter Miami sees him leading the club to victory in the Leagues Cup, securing their inaugural silverware.

Looking ahead, Messi aims to maintain his stellar performance and guide Inter Miami to Major League Soccer glory in the upcoming season.

TIME magazine acknowledges Messi’s exceptional year, celebrating his contributions both on and off the field, deeming him the Athlete of the Year.

Furthermore, Messi’s signing with Inter Miami has seemingly resulted in a significant increase in the financial revenue of the David Beckham-owned team.

Having joined Inter Miami in July this year, Messi has made a substantial impact on the team’s popularity and on-field success. His 9-goal streak propelled the club to the Leagues Cup final, ultimately winning the title in a tense penalty shootout against Nashville SC.

On the other hand, the most recent Lionel Messi interview on ESPN was revealing in many different ways but it can also serve as a wake-up call for Major League Soccer.

As arguably the greatest footballer in history, Messi likely had many options to continue his career after leaving Paris Saint-Germain but David Beckham and Jorge Mas convinced him to play for Inter Miami. The contract is obviously at a similar level to some of the biggest stars in MLB, NFL, or the NBA. With the difference that no other MLS player even matches in comparison to what Messi earns. But the money he makes clearly doesn’t match the league in which he plays.

In the interview, Messi on the record called MLS a ‘minor league’. To offer more context, Messi was talking about the challenge that will represent him trying to make it to the 2026 World Cup. Although he left the door open for that, Leo did acknowledge he is playing at a ‘minor league’ such as the MLS.

Here is what he said: “I said it several times and it is a reality – I will always try to compete to the maximum and I am the first to know when I can be there and when I can’t. I am also aware that I went to a minor league, but a lot happens because of the way one faces it and competes. As long as I feel good and I can continue to deliver, I’m going to (continue playing with Argentina). All I’m thinking about today is getting to the Copa América and being able to play in it.”

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