Nevertheless, he has electrified the US league, his appeal underlined by surging jersey sales and MLS season pass viewing subscription sales, as well as increased ticket sales wherever Miami plays.
Fans were again chanting for him late in the Friday match, but he was unable to score the equalizer in a contest that NYCFC won with goals from Teles Magno and Julian Fernandez.
Messi’s latest Ballon d’Or accolade follows achievements well in advance of his move to MLS, namely his inspirational performance at the World Cup in Qatar last year where he scored seven goals to lead Argentina to victory and was named best player of the tournament Went.
But Messi said his goal is to capture Miami’s League Cup crown next season – when his club will defend that title and compete in the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions Cup in addition to their MLS campaign.
“I had no doubt that we would have a good time, that we would have fun, and today I have even less doubt that next year is going to be much better,” he said.