USMNT's Walker Zimmerman on Lionel Messi's Inter Miami move: 'Players will be ready to compete against him'

Lionel Messi Getty Images
  • Zimmerman excited to see Messi in MLS
  • Warns Argentine of unique conditions
  • Biggest move since Beckham, USMNT defender says

WHAT HAPPENED? Messi announced on Wednesday that he will sign with Inter Miami, completing his long-awaited move to MLS. That decision sent the sporting world into a frenzy, with Messi's arrival seismic for soccer in the United States.

Zimmerman has spent his entire career in MLS, and was quick to remind the media of the unique difficulties that come with the league. But he believes Messi will being his best to MLS, as well those on the other side of the field.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I think with Messi, he's obviously a generational talent and someone that has almost transcended the sport," Zimmerman said. "My hope is that, with him being such a competitor, that he maintains that level of competitiveness, because I think we've seen that [MLS] is a difficult league. It's a league that you travel a lot. You're in a lot of tight, contested matches. It won't be unusual for him, but I'm sure guys will be trying to prove every single time that he's on the ball that they can win it off of him or intercept his pass or have that story to tell their kids because that's the kind of player that he is. I'm hopeful that he can do a lot in Miami, bring a lot of success to that club. Not too much success since we're also in the Eastern Conference, but again, it's going to be really fun to watch and see the reception that he's going to get around the United States."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: The move is not just a lift for Miami, who will certainly benefit from having one of the greatest of all time in their squad. MLS and American soccer as a whole stand to benefit as well from the league's biggest signing ever.

"This is obviously the biggest signing that they've brought in and kind of is reminiscent of [David] Beckham when he came originally," ZImmerman continued. "You saw how the league has kind of changed in the 15 years since he arrived. Hopefully, 15 years from now, we're seeing all the growth from this addition to the league. I think it's a great thing. I think it'll be great for the sport in this country, especially ahead of the 2026 World Cup and I'm excited to play against him."


Lionel Messi World Cup 2022GettyWalker Zimmerman Nashville 2022Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? Messi will be eligible to sign with Miami as soon as July, although it remains to be seen when he'll debut for his new club.