Soccer legend Lionel Messi had many options for where to take his career after a stint at Paris Saint-Germain. So his decision to cross the pond and play in North America was surprising. But maybe it shouldn’t have been.
News broke this week that the Argentinian great will join Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami, with some details still to be worked out.
But he’s not the first global soccer superstar to make a late-career move to this side of the Atlantic — something he seemed to acknowledge when announcing his move to Miami and the MLS.
“After winning the World Cup and not being able to return to Barcelona, it was my turn to go to the league of the United States to live football in another way,” said Messi, who is also a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and four-time Champions League winner, among other accomplishments in the sport.
Here’s a few other players who have made the jump.
Pelé paves the way to New York
It was Pelé who paved the path for other superstars to come to North America nearly five decades ago.
The way the three-time World Cup winner saw it, he was also carving a path for the beautiful game itself.
“You can say now to the world that soccer has finally arrived in the United States,” Pelé said, in remarks reported by the New York Times the day he signed a contract with the New York Cosmos of the now-defunct North American Soccer League (NASL), back in June of 1975.
His North American career gave his fans on this side of the border the chance to see Pelé up close when he was playing games in Canada.
Pelé, who died at age 82 last December, spent the last three years as a pro playing with the Cosmos.
Best breaks away from U.K.
At first, George Best denied reports that he was heading to Los Angeles.
“They have jumped the gun,” said Best, according to a Toronto Star news brief from Dec. 5, 1975, on reports about him signing a deal. “I still have other offers to consider and it might take a couple of months.”
But the Belfast-born soccer great — a Ballon d’Or winner and former Manchester United forward — would indeed be taking the field for the L.A. Aztecs the following spring.
Best, who died at age 59 in 2005, would play for several NASL teams.
Beckenbauer’s Cosmos run
Franz Beckenbauer followed in Pelé’s footsteps by joining the New York Cosmos for four seasons beginning in 1977.
The Cosmos won the league championship three times with Beckenbauer on their roster. He returned to Germany for two seasons before rejoining the Cosmos for his final season as a player in 1983.
Beckenbauer made his name internationally playing for West Germany and continentally in Europe playing for Bayern Munich.
But his impact in America was such that Beckenbauer was inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 1998.
L.A. beckons Beckham
It was big enough news for The National to take note that British soccer legend David Beckham was signing a North American soccer deal back in January 2007.
“He will, soccer fans hope, bring new life to the North American game,” The National‘s Adrienne Arsenault reported, the day Beckham’s deal with the L.A. Galaxy was announced.
Beckham, then 31, said he was heading to America not for the money, but for the chance “to hopefully build a club and a team that has got a lot of potential.”
The English midfielder would win two titles with the Galaxy in the years to come. A statue of Beckham now stands outside the stadium where the L.A. club plays.
And when Messi finally makes his Miami debut, likely sometime in July according to the Associated Press, he’ll have another global soccer superstar cheering him on, as Beckham is one of Inter Miami’s co-owners.
Garnacho on target as United beats Crystal Palace in League Cup defence
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Seven months after lifting the trophy, Manchester United made a successful start to its defense of the English League Cup on Tuesday by beating Crystal Palace 3-0.
Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro fired the holders into a 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford and Anthony Martial added a third after the break in the third-round match.
It is now back-to-back wins for Erik ten Hag’s team, which has endured a disappointing start to the season.
The dominant performance against an understrength Palace followed Saturday’s narrow victory at Burnley and will give United fans hope the team has turned its form around.
“The mood is always good, but of course when you are not winning at United there is disappointment, and there is frustration, but the togetherness is always there,” Ten Hag said. “We know we are not now in the position where we want to be. So we have to build up, we have to catch up and then you have to go from game to game, working on the process and working on the results. Don’t get too far ahead.”
The League Cup ranks fourth among English soccer’s most important trophies. But Ten Hag still savored last season’s success.
Victory against Newcastle in February’s final at Wembley Stadium ended the club’s six-year wait for a trophy and saw Ten Hag deliver silverware in his first season at the club. He went on to also reach the FA Cup final, only to lose to Manchester City, and also guided United back into the Champions League to mark an impressive campaign.
Things have not gone so well this term, with his team losing four out of five games before beating Burnley 1-0.
This latest victory was far more convincing, even if Palace benched regular starters Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Joachim Anderson and was also without forward Odsonne Edouard.
Ten Hag also made changes with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund on the bench and Christian Eriksen absent.
Mason Mount, however, made his first appearance since Aug. 19 after returning from an injury.
Garnacho fired United ahead in the 21st minute after converting Diogo Dalot’s cutback in the box.
His low shot had too much power for Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had only just come on as a substitute for the injured Dean Henderson.
Johnstone was tested again moments later when Dalot blasted an effort from an angle, which the keeper blocked.
He was beaten again, however, in the 27th, this time by Casemiro, who headed in Mount’s corner to double United’s lead.
Martial added a third 10 minutes into the second half when firing across goal after meeting Casemiro’s looping ball to the far post.
United plays Palace again in the Premier League on Saturday and the Londoners showed their threat when twice forcing saves from ‘keeper Andre Onana later in the match. But manager Roy Hodgson did not sound confident about securing a different outcome when the teams next meet.
“We are going to have to become a totally different team in the way we approach the game and the way we play the game,” he said.
Third-division Exeter produced a shock 1-0 win against Luton to knock the Premier League club out of the competition. Luton made 10 changes from the team that picked up its first topflight point of the season against Wolverhampton on Saturday, but the result will still go down as a big upset. Demetri Mitchell scored the winner in the 83rd, but Exeter had to see out the game with 10 men after he was sent off in the 88th.
Wolverhampton was also eliminated after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at second-division Ipswich. Hwang Hee-Chan and Toti Gomes had seemingly put the visitors on course for the next round after goals inside the first 15 minutes. But Omari Hutchinson, Freddie Ladapo and Jack Taylor sealed a comeback win for Ipswich.
Burnley is still waiting for its first win in the league this season, but it is powering on in the cup after a 4-0 win against Salford City, the fourth division club co-owned by Manchester United greats including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough beat Bradford 2-0 and Port Vale won 2-1 against Sutton United.
Fourth-division Mansfield beat third-division Peterborough 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Lucas Akins’ penalty to even the score in the 93rd had sent the game to a shootout.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
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Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
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Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
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In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
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