The Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi, the Argentine World Cup hero who won his eighth Ballon d’Or on Monday and brought attention to Major League Soccer around the world, came in second place in the vote for MLS Newcomer of the Year on Thursday.
Giorgos Giakoumakis, a forward for Atlanta United from Greece, got the award announced by MLS. He scored 17 goals this season, which was the most on his team.
MLS says the prize “recognises the year’s most impactful player who had prior professional experience and made their MLS debut during the 2023 regular season.”
Messi didn’t join Inter Miami until the middle of the season in July, and he didn’t play his first official MLS game until late August. He couldn’t help the team get out of the bottom and into the playoffs.
It’s hard to argue against Messi’s effect on the league’s bottom line. He increased sales of MLS season match packages and souvenirs and became a big draw for fans at every pitch where Miami played.
Messi helped Miami win the Leagues Cup, which was the first trophy for his team in the new competition that included clubs from the MLS and Mexico’s leagues.
Messi got 35.54% of the votes from MLS players, 34.34% from media, and 0% from coaching staff. There was no tie for first place among MLS players.
Staff at the clubs, on the other hand, chose the Greek striker by a margin of 46.34% to 34.15%. The media also heavily chose Giakoumakis, with 56.65% of the votes to Messi’s 12.24% and 20.23% to the other finalist, German St. Louis City player Eduard Lowen.
Giakoumakis is the second Atlanta United player in a row to win the top rookie award. The first was Thiago Almada, who played with Messi on the Argentine national team in 2022.