After Cristiano Ronaldo made fun of Lionel Messi’s move to the Major League Soccer and said the Saudi league was superior, Wayne Rooney backed Messi.

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN? Last Monday, Messi officially joined Inter Miami, but Ronaldo wasn’t impressed. The former foe of the Argentine, who is presently representing Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, remarked to reporters that the “Saudi championship is much better than the USA.”

WHAT THEY SAY: Ronaldo’s former teammate Rooney, who presently serves as the manager of MLS team D.C. United, has sprang to Messi’s rescue. “This league [MLS] has the potential to become one of the biggest leagues,” he said in an interview with The Athletic. It’s clear that Saudi Arabia is attempting to acquire particular players. Therefore, it was a big deal for MLS to sign Messi. Messi’s acquisition is the best way to demonstrate that it can compete with Saudi wealth.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi signed a contract through 2025 that could pay him up to $60 million (£46 million) a season. He might not have an easy time in MLS, though, since his new club is currently dead last in the Eastern Conference. Rooney stated of the league’s calibre: “This league has a very high calibre. It is most likely a little disrespectful. You get calls from agents, and some of the athletes you’re offered are so unprepared and underwhelming that it almost feels insulting.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MESSI? Former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets has already joined Messi in Miami, and Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba are expected to follow. He might make his Leagues Cup debut on Friday night against Cruz Azul of Mexico.


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