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Lionel Messi joining MLS in 2023 seems even more likely after major development

There have been rumblings for the last few months that soccer icon Lionel Messi could bring his talents to MLS in 2023, and those chances increased in a major way after a surprise development on Tuesday morning.

Major League Soccer has been on the rise in the United States and abroad in recent years. With the league in its thirtieth year of existence, the work put into developing the brand has really started to pay off.

Related: Soccer games today – Get watch times for the next MLS and EPL matches

Television ratings for MLS games are up, ticket sales for the league’s 29 teams are strong, and values for the various clubs are at all-time highs. While MLS may not be on the level of legendary leagues like England’s Premier League or Spanish La Liga, it is getting far closer than it was a decade ago.

The one thing MLS has lacked during its existence is having elite players while they are still relevant on the world stage. That could soon change and help bring MLS to another level among the sports top leagues.

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Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, ESPN reported that soccer superstar Lionel Messi is not expected to come to terms on a new contract with his current club Paris Saint-Germain. After reports last year claiming the two sides were likely to agree on a new deal to keep the Argentinian star in Paris, negotiations are now reportedly at a standstill.

The divide between the star and the club is over Paris Saint-Germain’s desire to have him take a 25% pay cut from his current annual rate of just over $43 million. Unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi is uninterested in doing so just months removed from leading Argentina to a World Cup championship.

“ESPN sources added that the 35-year-old is leaving all doors open for other teams to make him an offer. His father had already discussed the possibility of a Barcelona return but financially it will be difficult to achieve while the player’s camp is also awaiting a proposition from Inter Miami and Major League Soccer. According to sources, Messi is open to playing in the U.S. before his career comes to an end.”

Lionel Messi has been linked to a potential deal with MLS club Inter Miami that could see him gaining partial ownership of the team. There is also interest from clubs in Saudi Arabia after fellow soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo joined up with Al-Nassr FC of the Saudi Pro League for a massive sum of money in January.