The Argentine icon could make his MLS debut against Rooney’s D.C. United.
Wayne Rooney doesn’t expect Lionel Messi to “tear it up immediately” at Major League Soccer (MLS).
Messi ended his glorious career in European football to join Inter Miami as a free agent ahead of the next season. The move to MLS clearly indicates Messi’s desire to distance himself from elite-level football.
But Rooney believes the 35-year-old will, nonetheless, need to adapt to the new competition.
“It’d be nice if we were his first opponents for D.C. fans to see him up close and for us to challenge ourselves against him,” Rooney said on Friday.
“One thing I will say – it’s not going to be easy for him. The league’s a difficult league and I don’t think he’s going to come over here and absolutely tear it up immediately. He’ll have to adapt because it’s a bit different, it won’t be an easy ride for him.”
A host of elite footballers have spent the final years of their careers at MLS. But most observers believe Messi’s move to Inter Miami and its financial benefits could change the face of American soccer forever.
“To get Messi in the league, arguably the greatest player of all time, and still – he’s a little bit older – but not long ago he won the World Cup almost single handed,” Rooney added. “It’s going to be great for the league, for Miami.”