In the most high-profile fashion possible, Major League Soccer’s Argentine contingent looks set to grow.
The 35-year-old former FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star might feel right at home, too, joining dozens of compatriots in MLS.
Here’s a selection of the most prominent Argentines Messi could soon compete against in MLS matches.
- Age: 29
- Youth team: Boca Juniors
- Age: 22
- Youth team: Vélez Sarsfield
Messi could cross paths with his international teammate, as Almada broke into La Albiceleste’s plans last year and won a World Cup title alongside the legendary player in December 2022. The big question is how long Almada remains in MLS; he could break the league-record outbound transfer Miguel Almirón set in early 2019 when heading to Premier League side Newcastle United.
- Age: 23
- Youth team: Banfield
On a different timeline, Carranza would be Messi’s teammate in Miami. One of the Herons’ first-ever signings, things never panned out in South Beach before his 2022 move to Philadelphia (first a loan, then a permanent deal). Carranza has taken off, leading to Union coach Jim Curtin proclaiming the striker could “play anywhere."
- Age: 27
- Youth team: Atlético Rafaela
Copetti arrived last winter, joining Polish international forwards Kamil Józwiak and Karol Swiderski for Charlotte’s second year of existence. The bulldog-like striker enjoyed a breakout two seasons with Argentina’s Racing Club before joining Charlotte; last year, he posted 21 goals and six assists in 47 appearances across all competitions.
- Age: 27
- Youth team: River Plate
- Age: 28
- Youth team: Huracán
- Age: 24
- Youth team: Ferro Carril Oeste
- Age: 27
- Youth team: Talleres de Córdoba
- Age: 20
- Youth team: Independiente
- Age: 30
- Youth team: Belgrano
We limited ourselves to 10 Argentine players spotlighted above, but wanted to highlight a handful of others who might catch your eye.
From the Designated Player group, Gustavo Bou was vital in the New England Revolution setting an MLS single-season points record (73) in 2021 while winning the Supporters’ Shield. There’s also winger Emiliano Rigoni, who complements Driussi in Austin FC’s attack. And his playing time has fallen off in 2023, but Sebastián Blanco is an absolute legend for the Portland Timbers.
The league’s U22 Initiative – designed to help bring in top international talent – is how the likes of LA Galaxy left back Julián Aude, FC Cincinnati left back Álvaro Barreal and Chicago Fire FC midfielder Federico Navarro all came to the league. Barreal, in particular, has made an impressive All-Star push in 2023.