Lionel Messi has been named Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year for 2023 after his move to the United States to join Major League Soccer side Inter Miami.
Messi joins the likes of Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, LeBron James and the United States women’s national team to win the award. New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge won the award in 2022.
Messi made his debut for the Florida-based franchise in July, and announced his arrival by scoring a free kick in the final minutes to give his side a 2-1 victory. Since then he’s had a profound impact on the MLS.
With their star signing on board, Inter Miami won the Leagues Cup, their first major trophy, beating Nashville in the final in which Messi scored. The Argentina international scored 11 goals in 14 games in all competitions to finish the season.
He was also nominated for the MLS MVP award.
In October, he claimed a record extending eighth Ballon d’or crown after he guided Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar in 2022.