Bruce Arena: MLS-bound Lionel Messi still “pretty damn good”
The biggest question of the European summer transfer window was answered earlier this week when global soccer icon Lionel Messi, who just captained Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World CupTM title and is widely renowned as the world’s greatest player, announced his intention to leave Paris Sant-Germain for Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami CF this summer.
Bruce Arena knows a little something about international superstars coming to MLS, considering he coached David Beckham for several years during the megastar’s tenure with the LA Galaxy. Arena joined Zolak and Bertrand on Friday to offer context on today’s biggest name in soccer coming to the United States.
“He’s going to bring a lot to the league. Obviously, he’s a terrific player. He’s known globally and it’s only going to help lift the image of Major League Soccer.”
With Messi on the verge of turning 36, Hardy wondered if fans could expect to still see a player of the same caliber that has dominated the world’s top stage for nearly two decades with FC Barcelona and PSG.
“He played in the World Cup last [year] and they won the World Cup and he was the most valuable so he’s not far off from being still pretty damn good,” Arena replied. “He’s going to turn 36 this month and it’s not going to be easy playing in Florida during the summers, but there’s going to be enough quality that he’s going to help score goals.”
“He’s going to be effective, and if he ever gets a free kick, he’s usually deadly there.”
Messi’s next club is also New England’s next opponent, but Miami will be without the record seven-time Ballon d’Or winner when they visit Foxborough on Saturday. However, the Revolution are not overlooking that fact, nor the Herons’ last-place standing in the Eastern Conference, as they look to avenge a 2-1 loss away to Inter Miami on May 13.
“We weren’t pleased with the three points in eight days, because we felt we should have beat Chicago. It’s going to make the games coming up, starting tomorrow against Inter Miami – without Messi, I might add – is a very critical game. We need to get three points tomorrow.”
The Revolution and Inter Miami CF kick off from 7:30 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium, where almost 35,000 fans are expected in attendance. Watch the 7:30 p.m. kickoff on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app or listen to Brad Feldman and Charlie Davies on 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM).