Lionel Messi Crowned 'Athlete Of The Year' By Time Magazine, First Male Soccer Player To Achieve Feat

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Lionel Messi Crowned 'Athlete Of The Year' By Time Magazine, First Male Soccer Player To Achieve Feat

Lionel Messi, who recently won his eighth Ballon d’Or and has signed with Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami, has been voted Time magazine’s “Athlete of the Year” for 2023. 

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Who has crowned Messi as ‘Athlete of the Year?’

Lionel Messi
File

According to Time, the Argentine superstar has already had a dramatic impact on the American athletic environment, which has been sluggish to embrace football in the past. 

“Lionel Messi this year managed to do what once seemed impossible, when he signed with Inter Miami: turning the US into a soccer country,” said Time magazine.

Messi, 36, made his Miami debut in July after a contentious exit from Paris Saint-Germain.

Which of Messi’s achievements have shined of late?

Lionel Messi
File

The World Cup winner also turned down a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia in favour of a fresh chapter in Major League Soccer.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner had an immediate impact on Miami’s fortunes, helping the team win the expanded Leagues Cup, a cross-border competition between MLS and Mexico’s top flight. 

Messi concluded the season with 11 goals in 14 appearances across all competitions, but an injury near the conclusion of the season prevented him from helping Miami advance to the playoffs.

What does Messi have to say?

Messi was described by Time as saying that his first choice after PSG was a fairytale return to Barcelona, but the deal fell through due to the club’s financial difficulties. 

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Lionel Messi
AFP

“I tried to return, and it did not happen,” Messi remarked, adding that he was also “thinking a lot” about joining the influx of foreign players to the Saudi Pro League. 

“It was either Saudi Arabia or MLS, and both options seemed very interesting to me,” Messi explained to the magazine. 

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