MLS boss chides media over Lionel Messi focus, compares him to Taylor Swift

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As the 2024 Major League Soccer season kicks off on Wednesday night, all eyes are looking at Lionel Messi and his first full season with Inter Miami. 

Messi will take on Real Salt Lake on the road to begin the year, and though the general consensus believe Messi is good for the MLS, there is one who isn’t a big fan. 

Don Garber, the league’s commissioner, thinks the attention on Messi is too much, especially from the media. 

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Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Union during the first half of a Leagues Cup soccer semifinal Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, in Chester, Pa.  (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

“It’s easy and somewhat lazy for reporters to just write about Messi — it’s like writing about Taylor Swift,” he told Sports Business Journal. “There’s so much more here that I think people need to recognize.”  

Garber’s comments come at a time when intense focus is on the MLS, especially considering their deal with Apple, a 10-year, $2.5 billion partnership that has MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. 

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One of the main reasons for Apple’s investment is the arrival of Messi and his other famous teammates, including Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. 

They are expected to be one of the best teams in MLS this season after winning the 2023 Leagues Cup on Aug. 19 last year. 

Lionel Messi corrals the Toronto

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami controls the ball during the first half during a match between Toronto FC and Inter Miami CF at DRV PNK Stadium on September 20, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

But it’s also not wrong to see a league commissioner wanting widespread coverage of the other great players and teams around the league. 

Garber’s comparison of Messi to Swift, however, is an interesting one. He’s obviously referencing how the NFL was covered this past season with Swift dating Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce on their path to another Super Bowl victory. 

Sure, like Swift, Messi is one of the most recognizable faces across the globe, and anything involving him will make a headline. 

Lionel Messi gets the ball

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi, right, takes the ball past Toronto FC defender Kobe Franklin during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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But for soccer, Messi is king and coverage of one of the best players to ever lace up a pair of boots is a necessity for the millions of soccer fans that will be tuning in to see him all season long with Inter Miami. 

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