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The MLS is at a key stage of its development due the next FIFA World Cup, the 2026 edition, will be played on North American lands (Mexico, the United States, and Canada) with most of the venues in the USA. The 1994 World Cup (also held in the United States) served as a turning point for football in that country as it was the reason to start introducing this sport after its heyday during the era of Pele and the New York Cosmos in the mid-from the 70s.

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That also meant the birth of the MLS, which has been the most solid football league that has emerged in that country and has been evolving in a more serious way than other similar markets. The MLS, as well as Saudi Arabia today or China a little over five years ago, had their times where they bet on signing big stars, mostly in the last years of their careers.

However, this has changed in recent years because franchises now bet on young talent, mainly from the Latin American market, and then sell them to European clubs such as Jhon Durán (from Chicago Fire to Aston Villa), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United to Newcastle United) or Valentín Castellanos (New York City to Girona).

Despite this new approach, MLS franchises still sign some big-name players who are in the final stages of their professional careers and who still create that buzz that grabs the public’s attention and brings them to the stadiums. Next, we are going to talk about the main signings that the MLS has made in this summer market.

Lionel Messi

Messi has been (along with Cristiano Ronaldo) the main protagonist of world football for the last 15 years, widely recognized as one of the best players in the history of the sport (for some, the best). After his time at Paris Saint Germain, where he did not have the expected success, the Argentine decided not to renew his contract with the French club and probe the market to evaluate possible new destinations.

There was talk of a return to FC Barcelona or a possible transfer to Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia, where he would have been Cristiano Ronaldo’s rival. However, Messi always had a huge interest in living in Miami and that is why he accepted the offer from Inter Miami. Messi’s contract includes a salary of 50 million euros per season but also includes percentages of the league’s broadcast rights, a percentage of the franchise’s shares, real estate shares in Miami and will be the image of the next Copa América and the next world.

Teemu Pukki

The Finn established himself as a scorer in England in both the Premier League and the Championship in his 5 years with Norwich City and despite having had offers during his time in England to go to other clubs, he remained at the club until the end of his contract. As a free agent, he made the decision to go to the MLS with Minnesota United FC, one of the youngest franchises in the league and in the 2023 season, it is one of the teams with the fewest goals in the competition, so the arrival of Pukki can be very helpful to the Loons.

Sergio Busquets

The Spaniard is in the final stage of his career and with the signing of Messi by Inter Miami, Busquets decided to follow in the footsteps of his friend and former Barcelona teammate, signing for David Beckham’s franchise. The economic problems of the Catalan club have also led them to release iconic players from the institution for their high salaries. Busquets signed a contract of 10 million euros per season with Inter Miami, making him the second highest paid in the franchise, after Messi, obviously.

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