The players who have generated the most goal chances with Lionel Messi 1:08

(CNN Español) -- Lionel Messi is Time magazine's athlete of the year. This was announced by the publication on his social networks, in which he spread a cover where the world champion is seen wearing the shirt of his current team, Inter Miami.

"What happened that moment, on July 21, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale, still seems surreal. Lionel Messi, in his first game wearing the pink jersey of Inter Miami, received a free kick in the last seconds of his debut in Major League Soccer (MLS)," begins the Time article in which he describes Messi's exploits by announcing him as athlete of the year. "Here was the greatest soccer player alive, arguably the greatest to ever play the world's most popular game, who last year led Argentina to its first World Cup victory in nearly four decades, preparing for a club that ranks last in the United States," the article continues.

Lionel Messi is TIME's 2023 Athlete of the Year

— TIME (@TIME) December 5, 2023

In a post on its Instagram account, Time magazine highlighted some of the Argentine footballer's many achievements. At 36 years old, two decades after his unparalleled career, Messi provided a singular boost to soccer in the United States when he signed with Inter Miami earlier this year. Attendance, ticket prices, merchandise sales, and viewership all skyrocketed. Their games took on the feel of a religious revival," Time reported.


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"With the most revered and influential athlete on the planet playing in Miami for at least the next two years, still performing at the top of his game, America is now a soccer nation," the post continues. And he quotes Messi: "What I would say to the fans is simply the same thing I said when I arrived. We're going to have a great time. We're going to compete to keep lifting trophies and enjoy ourselves."

Thus, Messi continues to garner recognition all over the world.