MLS

Shaka Hislop happy for Lionel Messi to do 'whatever he wants', but would love to see him in MLS

By Sports Desk June 01, 2023

Lionel Messi has earned the right to do whatever he wishes with his career, but Shaka Hislop would love to see the Argentine superstar head to MLS.

Messi seems set to leave Paris Saint-Germain after the expiration of his contract.

Christophe Galtier said on Friday that Messi would be playing his last game for PSG when the Ligue 1 champions host Clermont on Saturday.

While the club subsequently told AFP that Galtier had "expressed himself incorrectly and that the match against Clermont would be Messi's last at the Parc with PSG this season", according to L'Equipe, it does appear to be the end of the road in Paris for the 35-year-old.

It has been reported that Barcelona are eager to take Messi back to Catalonia, and there is interest from Saudi Arabia, where Karim Benzema is seemingly headed and Cristiano Ronaldo already plays.

MLS side Inter Miami have long been credited with an interest too, however, and former Newcastle United, Portsmouth and West Ham goalkeeper Hislop - who ended his own career in the United States with FC Dallas - would be thrilled to see Messi head across the Atlantic.

"It would be incredibly huge for MLS, which continues to grow in so many ways," Hislop told Stats Perform.

"I think it brings eyes to this league, it brings an appreciation of this league that has based a lot of its growth around bringing young and exciting South American talent to MLS.

"So to have a not-so-young but exciting South American talent in the league does wonders for it.

"I'm a huge fan of MLS, and its growth because I went to university here, so I know exactly what US Soccer was like through the late 80s and early 90s.

"So to see how it's developed today, I think has been incredible just to witness, so I would love to see him in MLS and have had the sport get that exposure like only he can bring."

Messi joined PSG in 2021 and has played a direct part in 66 goals (32 goals and 34 assists) since making his debut, a tally bettered only by Kylian Mbappe (106) among his team-mates in that timeframe.

Yet Messi has at times faced criticism from PSG's fanbase, especially after he was suspended by the club for a making an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

Hislop, though, says Messi deserves to play wherever he wants.

"I think Lionel Messi has given this game so much, and at this point, do whatever you want," he said.

"We'll comment and pass judgment on it but he's given this game so much of his life. He's given us all so much to appreciate. I'm all for Lionel Messi doing whatever he wants. I really am."

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