(Los Angeles) Argentine superstar Lionel Messi was named Time magazine’s Sportsman of the Year on Tuesday for his impact on American football since joining Inter Miami this summer.

“Messi achieved what seemed impossible: making the United States a soccer country,” the magazine wrote.

Awarded an eighth Ballon d’Or at the end of October, Messi (36) left Paris Saint-Germain in July to join Inter Miami, a club co-managed by David Beckham, seven months after his world champion title won at the end 2022 with Argentina.

“My first option was to return to Barcelona, ​​but that wasn’t possible. It is also true that I then considered the Saudi championship, a powerful competition which can become important in the future in a country that I know,” Messi explains to Time.

“It was ultimately Saudi Arabia or MLS, and both options interested me,” continues “La Pulga”.

Winner of the Leagues Cup in August after his arrival, the club’s first trophy, Messi then had a series of absences while Inter Miami failed to qualify for the championship playoffs.

In 2024, in addition to MLS, the Argentinian will be expected at the Copa America in June and July in the United States. The draw is scheduled for Thursday.

Messi has not closed the door to a possible participation in a 6th World Cup in 2026, contested in the United States, Mexico and Canada.