MLS Transfer: Who Are The Biggest Signings In The League’s History?

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MLS Transfer: The Major League Soccer has seen a couple of huge signings in the last two decade with Lionel Messi being the latest.

MLS Transfer: Who Are The Biggest Signings In The League's History?

Messi recently made the decision to join the Major League Soccer side Inter Miami which currently sit bottom of the Eastern Conference.

The World Cup winner will see out his contract at Parish Saint-Germain and will be moving to the MLS side afterward.

Messi’s future has been up in the air in recent times as he received attractive offers by Al Hilal to follow Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia.

In addition, Barcelona expressed huge interest to bringing back their legend to the club, but Lionel Messi turned it down with reference to finances.

Messi decided to join Inter Miami instead, a team that joined the MLS in 2020, two years after it was established.

Inter Miami currently sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and is without a manager after parting ways with their previous head coach, Phil Neville, last week.

While they sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference in the MLS, they are currently facing difficulties, having only accumulated 17 points.

Reports also have it that Lionel Messi has a house in Miami which was one of the major reasons for his move with Antonella not wanting to move to Saudi Arabia.

Messi will be one of the most popular players to play soccer in America since legendary players such as Pele and George Best, according to Kaveh Solhekol, the Chief Reporter of Sky Sports News.

Here on Futballnews today, we are going to take a look at the biggest signings that have ever graced the MLS since the 1995/1996 season.

Lionel Messi (35) 2023/24

Lionel Andrés Messi, also known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine footballer who was born on 24 June, 1987.

After confirmation of his departure from PSG, Messi was linked to a return to Barcelona and big money move to Al-Hilal.

But his eventual decision to sign for Major League Soccer club Inter Miami was communicated to Barcelona president Joan Laporta on 5 June, 2023.

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Inter Miami posted a video on June 7 on their social media hinting at the club’s signing of Messi, although it did not confirm that he had officially signed yet.

While on the same day, Messi confirmed his intention to join Miami in a joint-interview with Mundo Deportivo and Sport, in which he said that they “haven’t closed it 100 percent”; MLS also stated that the deal had not been finalized.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (36) 2017/18

Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Swedish footballer who was born on 3 October, 1981. He plays as a striker for Serie A club AC Milan.

MLS Transfer: Who Are The Biggest Signings In The League's History?

Ibrahimović joined American club LA Galaxy in March 2018 and announced his arrival by taking out a signed full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times that simply said, “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome”.

He was later named the team’s captain ahead of the 2019/20 Major League Soccer season.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (32) 2016/17

Bastian Schweinsteiger is a German former professional footballer who was born on 1 August, 1984 and played as a midfielder.

Manchester United allowed Schweinsteiger to join Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire, on 21st March, 2017 after medicals and visa were secured.

The said move was completed on the 29th of March, 2017 and a few days later the then-United coach, Mourinho stated that he regretted the way he had treated Schweinsteiger.

The German made his debut for Chicago Fire, scoring in a 2–2 home draw against Montreal Impact.

Andrea Pirlo (36) 2015/16

Andrea Pirlo Ufficiale OMR is a former Italian football player who most recently was head coach of Süper Lig club Fatih Karagümrük.

Pirlo was born on 19 May, 1979 and is considered one of the greatest deep-lying playmakers ever. Pirlo was renowned for his vision, ball control, technique, creativity, passing, and free kick ability.

Pirlo completed a move to Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise New York City FC as their third Designated Player in July 2015.

MLS Transfer: Who Are The Biggest Signings In The League's History?

The move to MLS made him the highest paid Italian player in all leagues with an $8 million salary, until Graziano Pellè overtook him after moving to Chinese club Shandong Luneng the following year.

Steven Gerrard (35) 2015/16

Steven George Gerrard MBE is an English football manager and former player, who was born on 30 May, 1980.

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Gerrard most recently coached Premier League club Aston Villa and he is described by pundits and fellow professionals as one of his generation’s greatest players as well as one of the greatest midfielders of all time.

MLS side in January 2015 announced the signing of Gerrard after signing an 18-month Designated Player contract, reportedly worth $9 million.

He joined the team in July, following the end of the 2014–15 Premier League season and on 11 July, 2015, the former Liverpool star made his cup debut.

Gerrard made his MLS debut on 17 July, 2015, scoring once, while assisting one goal of his former Liverpool teammate Robbie Keane’s hat-trick, during a 5–2 defeat of fellow Californians the San Jose Earthquakes at the StubHub Center.

Frank Lampard (36) 2014/15

Frank James Lampard OBE is an English football manager and former player who was born on 20 June, 1978 and most recently was interim manager of Chelsea.

Lampard is widely regarded as one of Chelsea’s greatest players ever, and one of the greatest midfielders of his generation.

The Englishman has the record of the most goals by a midfielder in the Premier League and of scoring the most goals from outside the box (41).

Lampard signed a pre-contract to play for New York City FC in MLS, beginning on 1 July on 10th January, 2015.

MLS Transfer: Who Are The Biggest Signings In The League's History?

However, injury delayed his debut until 1 August, when he came on as a 69th-minute substitute for Andrew Jacobson in a 3–2 defeat to the Montreal Impact at Yankee Stadium.

He was however named in the 22 players in the 2015 MLS All-Star Game roster.

Ricardo Kaka (32) 2014/15

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite commonly known as Kaká or Ricardo Kaká, is a Brazilian former footballer who was born on 22 April, 1982 and played as an attacking midfielder.

Kaka left AC Milan to sign for the future MLS franchise Orlando City as their first Designated Player.

The Brazilian stated that he had “always” wanted to play in the United States, and cited the Brazilian owner Flávio Augusto da Silva as a reason for signing.

He was subsequently loaned to his childhood club Sao Paulo, which he revealed was “really satisfying”.

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Thierry Henry (32) 2010/11

Thierry Daniel Henry is a French football coach, pundit, and former player who was born on 17 August, 1977.

Henry is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time, and one of the greatest players of the Premier League history.

The Frenchman has been named Arsenal F.C’s greatest ever player and he was runner-up for both the Ballon d’Or in 2003 and the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

Thierry Henry signed a multi-year contract with Major League Soccer (MLS) club New York Red Bulls for the 2010 season as its second designated player.

MLS Transfer: Who Are The Biggest Signings In The League's History?

The Frenchman made his debut for the MLS side on 1 July in a 2–2 draw against Houston Dynamo, assisting both goals to Juan Pablo Ángel.

David Beckham (32) 2007/08

David Robert Joseph Beckham OBE is an English former footballer, the current president and co-owner of Inter Miami CF and co-owner of Salford City.

Beckham was born on 2 May, 1975 and is known for his range of passing, crossing ability and bending free-kicks as a right winger.

The Englishman has been hailed as one of the greatest and most recognisable midfielders of his generation, as well as one of the best set-piece specialists of all time.

His involvement with Major League Soccer (MLS) began while he was still a Real Madrid player when it was confirmed on 11 January 2007 that he would be leaving Madrid in six months to join MLS side LA Galaxy.

Beckham’s official press conference was held in conjunction with the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, which ended speculation about his new contract in Madrid.

Carlos Valderarama (34) 1995/96

Carlos Alberto Valderrama Palacio, also known as El Pibe (“The Kid”), is a Colombian former footballer and sports commentator for Fútbol de Primera, who played as an attacking midfielder.

Valderrama was born on 2 September, 1961 and in 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.

The Colombian began his Major League Soccer career with the US side Tampa Bay Mutiny in the league’s inaugural 1996 season.

The MLS team won the first ever Supporters’ Shield, awarded for having the league’s best regular season record.

MLS Transfer: Who Are The Biggest Signings In The League's History?

Valderrama on the other hand was the league’s first Most Valuable Player, finishing the season with 4 goals and 17 assists.

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