Lionel Messi, center, scored the winning goal in Inter Miami's Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul of Mexico. (Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA Today/Reuters)
Football

Messi Comes, These MLS Rules Have the Chance to Be Changed

Philadelphia - Inter Miami's arrival of Lionel Messi and other stars is expected to reshape the MLS competition landscape." Furthermore, player spending rules would likely be relaxed.

In a recent development, the entry of Lionel Messi and other prominent stars into Inter Miami is projected to shift the balance of competition within Major League Soccer dynamically. With this transition, hopes are growing that the laws governing player expenditures will soon be relaxed.

Jim Curtin, the coach, and Alejandro Bedoya, the captain of the Philadelphia Union, have articulated this viewpoint. Their views gained prominence after their team suffered a 1-4 defeat against Miami in the semi-finals of the 2023 Leagues Cup on Wednesday (August 16) morning, local time.

During the match, Union, last season's MLS Cup runner-up, found themselves powerless against Miami's onslaught, succumbing to their superior performance in the first half of the current MLS season. However, since Messi and his teammates arrived, Miami's offensive prowess has become formidable and productive.

Throughout this summer season, Miami has embarked on an ambitious player acquisition spree, exploiting loopholes in MLS regulations to secure the services of numerous high-quality players, both young and experienced. The result of this endeavor is the successful recruitment of six players.

Apart from Messi, the roster includes Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Diego Gomez, Facundo Farias, and Tomas Aviles. The latter three names have filled the U-22 player slots.

League regulations are poised for change. His (Messi's) arrival will bring about significant transformations, and it's indeed necessary," remarked Curtin, as reported by The Athletic.

"Miami is set to further enhance itself. They will be aggressive in player acquisitions, positioning themselves as the premier team in the league. They might already be one of the best teams now."

"The time for change (in regulations) has arrived, and I don't think anything can stop it," Curtin stated emphatically.

Historically, MLS has been recognized for its stringent player budgeting regulations, with numerous rules in place to ensure parity among participants. Philadelphia Union is one of the teams with a lower salary cap. The highest transfer fee they have ever paid is only $2.8 million.

However, Bedoya remains unfazed. He is confident that rule changes can encourage teams to spend more money responsibly, ultimately elevating the quality of MLS.

"I think this is good for the league. Rumors suggest that something might change at the end of the season, we'll just have to wait and see. It's not a secret that having more money assists in recruiting higher-quality players, thus enhancing overall squad depth," Bedoya stated.

"We'll see what unfolds at the end of the season. Miami is pushing for change. This is positive for the league and soccer in our country and region. With the upcoming World Cup on the horizon, we are at a pivotal juncture of transformation," he concluded.