Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi named Time's Athlete of the Year for 2023

The soccer star brought Messi Mania to the U.S. in 2023


He may have won his first World Cup in 2022, but 2023 was still the year of Lionel Messi.

The Argentinian soccer legend was named Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year on Tuesday following his move to the U.S. through MLS club Inter Miami.

Messi finished out his two-year tenure with French side Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Instead of rejoining F.C. Barcelona or signing a half-billion-dollar deal with a Saudi Arabian club, he took his talents to South Beach.

Messi Mania immediately took over Miami, the MLS and the U.S. He kicked off his Inter Miami tenure with a game-winning free kick in the final minutes of his debut in a Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul on July 21.

“I remember getting in the car on the way back, and I said to (his wife) Victoria, ‘I’m not even sure I can drive home,’” Inter Miami co-owner Beckham told Time. “You couldn’t have written it better. It was for MLS, and for America. It was for the future of the game.”

His club went on to win the tournament for its first ever major trophy. Overall, the 36-year-old has 11 goals in 14 appearances across all competitions with his new club.

Messi added to his trophy case in October by winning his eighth Ballon d’Or, accepting the award from Beckham and extending his own record.

Here are five things to know about Lionel “Leo” Messi, one of the greatest footballers of all time, who plays for Argentina’s national team and MLS club Inter Miami.
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