Lionel Messi: MLS clubs are "competing as equals" against Liga MX

Messi press conference 1

Lionel Messi's MLS tenure is still in its early phases, but the Inter Miami CF superstar has played enough games now to get a feel for the level of competition in his new surroundings.

To hear Messi tell it, the level he's witnessed from MLS clubs in the ongoing 2023 Leagues Cup tournament has been impressive. That's both from the games he's played himself while helping Inter Miami to Saturday's Leagues Cup Final against Nashville SC, as well as the cross-league matchups he's watched between MLS clubs and Liga MX opponents.

"They compete as equals against every [Liga MX] team. In this [Leagues] Cup it’s been shown that, well, no Mexican team reached the final," Messi said in Spanish in a Thursday interview with SportsCenter Argentina. "You can question a lot of things, but the reality is that all the games were very even, very competitive, anybody could beat anybody.

"I have the feeling it’s the same in the league [MLS]. That it’s a very competitive league, anybody can beat anybody, teams playing at home are strong and it’s very hard to win on the road."

Messi also spoke highly of the potential on the world stage for the US men's national team based on what he saw from them at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where he ultimately emerged victorious for the first time in his legendary career while captaining Argentina.

"I think soccer in the United States has grown a lot over these last few years – the US national team’s results of late are proof of that," he said. "In the World Cup as well, the United States were a great team, very competitive. They played every opponent as equals in every World Cup game [in Qatar] they played."