Gonzalo Higuain is hopeful that fellow Argentine Lionel Messi will one day join him in Major League Soccer. Higuain is preparing for his second full MLS season with Inter Miami, joining Juventus in September 2020.
Although the striker’s goals were slightly backed towards the end of his time in Europe, Higuain was still considered a major player for Inter and MLS, where his older brother Federico has been active since 2012.
Earlier MLS was considered a competition where disappearing stars from Europe went to see all their works, and the likes of Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, and Steven Gerrard all did just that.
But the concept is changing slowly – it is becoming a hotbed of talent, a working ladder to Europe for South American athletes, and a place for emerging European celebrities who are at the top of their game.
Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne highlighted the change last month by agreeing to travel to Toronto at the end of the season despite being at the top level. While any change of MLS to Messi, now 34, will look like the last move before he retires, Higuain thinks he will enjoy it.
“It’s a very important and growing league,” Higuain told Stats Perform.
“There are important players coming and I think in the future they will continue to grow a lot.
“I hope [Messi goes to MLS] because it would be a benefit to MLS and the country, and if he wishes he can be happy and happy here.”
Inter are kicking off their 2022 MLS campaign at home in Chicago Fire on Saturday, with David Beckham-backed franchise hoping to enjoy a major improvement since last season.
Phil Neville’s team finished 11th in the Eastern Conference with 14 teams in 2021, a place higher than Saturday’s players, with their 41 points better than just six teams in the two MLS divisions.
It looks like Inter would have struggled even more if it had not been for Higuain, who scored 12 goals. His nine-goal non-penalty (np) goal goes well with his np-xG (expected goals) of 8.7, suggesting that the team can really benefit from a reliable finish if the service to him gets better.
And improving that comeback before the goal is at the top of Higuain’s list of priorities.
“We are healthy, looking forward to [the start of the season] and very happy,” he said. “It is very close now, let’s hope it goes better than last year and we learn from the mistakes made so that it does not happen again this year, we are happy to have a good year.
“I want to improve my numbers, do all my work, improve year after year. I hope this year I can do better to help the team qualify [in the playoffs] and qualify for the MLS.
“I hope I can improve my numbers, that’s my goal and that’s what I’ve prepared for this pre-season.”