July 20, 2024

MLS is no longer the “retirees league” the star wanted

3 min read
MLS is no longer the "retirees league" the star wanted
MLS is no longer the "retirees league" the star wanted

On February 9, Atlanta United announced the signing of Thiago Almada, a 20-year-old Argentine midfielder who has already been called up by the senior national team and has been the subject of interest from several clubs in Europe. To take away the young promise from Velez Sarsfield, the Americans paid $16 million (R$82.6 million), a record sum in MLS history.

Elite new season football In the US, which started last weekend, it also includes the presence of Brazilian Luis Araujo (Atlanta United), Brenner (FC Cincinnati), Argentine Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC), Alan Velasco (FC Dallas) and Uruguayan Facundo Torres (Orlando City). All of them are over 25 years old.

They are living proof that the idea that the NBA is still a “retirees league” is something that is still in Neymar’s head.

About ten days ago, Paris Saint-Germain was the number 10 and the most expensive football player in history He revealed a desire to play in the United States in the future and argued that the season there is short and “has about four months off”.

The statement angered the league leadership. Last week, Don Garber, Major League Soccer’s president since the turn of the century, criticized players who think the competition is a summer camp for those looking to “handle it easy” in the latter phase of their careers.

We don’t need to bring in a famous player at the end of his career because he’s decided he wants to retire from MLS.”

Contrary to what the Brazilian attacking midfielder said, players who work in the United States do not have four months off. The last MLS season ended on December 11th and the new season started on Saturday.

In other words, the clubs that played in the final of the last edition of the tournament (there is a regular season and then the playoffs) had just over two and a half months between one tournament and the next. And they had to fit the holiday and preparatory season in that period.

The “rest” time was shorter than in some European championships. In Italy, for example, the hiatus between last season and the current season was almost three months (with only two days left).

In the past, MLS was really a league that was known for offering high paying players at the end of their career to retire in the United States. Brazilian Kaka, French Thierry Henry, Englishman David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney were among the veterans who passed there. It was a mission to capture the public’s attention and make the competition more attractive to sponsors.

But that stage is behind us. It is true that some North American clubs are still investing in athletes who have succeeded in Europe. But now they are younger. New this season, Swiss Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire) is still 30 and Brazilian Douglas Costa (LA Galaxy), 31.

The fashion among elite franchisees in the United States is now different: investing heavily in the South American market, especially in players who are still early in their careers or who are defending their national teams.

In Venezuela’s last call-up, for example, there were seven players who played in MLS. In Ecuador, there were six “Americans”. And in Peru four.

The current MLS champion is New York City, a franchise that belongs to the same group that owns Manchester City and has clubs around the world. The biggest winner in league history is the LA Galaxy with five titles. However, Californians have already endured a seven-season fast without raising the trophy.

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