Major League Soccer

Miguel Angel Ramirez insists MLS doesn't need Lionel Messi to grow

Lizzy Becherano
 Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez insists the league does not need Lionel Messi.
Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez insists the league does not need Lionel Messi. / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Lionel Messi joining MLS may not be the revolutionary move the American league needs, according to Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez. 

Ramirez recently conducted an interview with Goal in which he was quoted as saying: "As an impact on society, it is not necessary for Messi to reach MLS."

The coach has now stressed that his comments have been taken out of context and laughed off claims that he wouldn't want Messi in the league.

“The media is cutting what I’m saying to get clicks, and now I am the idiot who doesn’t want Messi in MLS," he said. "I want Messi to come, and if he would come to Charlotte FC, even better. Let him come to Charlotte FC; I will sign that right now.

“Messi does not need to come here to see the change in this country; there are already so many young kids who aren’t choosing American football or basketball, they are choosing soccer. It’s not because of Messi.”

Major League Soccer is on the rise. The league is currently in its 27th year, and has seen a growth from an initial 10 teams to now 28 clubs across the United States and Canada, with more on the horizon. 

Raminez asserted that the sport is growing in popularity and talent across the United States due to the passion seen in several Major League Soccer matches. 

“What I’m saying is the change is already happening in MLS, we had over 32,000 fans on Saturday, and we don’t have Messi or Cristiano (Ronaldo); we have a young team who is playing their hearts out for their club. We don’t have a big name here, and we had 32,000 fans. That is what I’m referring to,” Ramirez added. 

The expansion side also set a league single-game attendance record in Week 2 of the 2022 Major League Soccer season, when 74,479 fans attended their opening game vs. LA Galaxy. 

“The societal change is what I am referring to; you’re already seeing it," he concluded. "I see shirts of CLTFC every day; I get stopped every day at the supermarket, the bar, everywhere. We don’t have a name, that is what I mean. We are seeing the change and not just among Latinos because many Americans come here, boys and girls.”