Just like there are few club comPetitions Lionel Messi has played in and hasn’t won, there are few individual awards that he has been eligible but not picked up throughout his career. We can now add a new one to the list, the MLS Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player MVP Award, which FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta has received for his performances in 2023.
While Acosta, another Argentine playmaker, scored 17 goals and created another 14 to lead his team to the MLS Supporters’ Shield and the Eastern Conference final, Messi’s blistering start to life at Inter Miami tailed off, hampered by injury.
Messi unable to replicate Leagues Cup form in MLS
The 2022 World Cup-winning captain netted 10 times in his first seven matches as The Herons won the Leagues Cup but he was unable to replicate that form in MLS, despite scoring on his debut against New York Red Bulls on 27 August.
Messi hasn’t scored a league goal since and has missed as many MLS matches through injury as he has played in for the Floridians. Three of his six appearances have seem him spend fewer than 40 minutes on the field.
Not even the staunchest fan of the Argentina captain could realistically argue that he has been hard done by, although we have a feeling his name might be in the conversation for the 2024 edition of the award.
Argentina captain wins eighth Ballon d’Or...but not MLS MVP
In any case, we shouldn’t feel too sorry for the former Barcelona icon, who has picked up a whole host of individual awards over the years, the most recent of which saw him pick up a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or in October.
During his time in Catalonia, Messi was named LaLiga Best Player on six occasions between 2008-09 and 2014-15, with Cristiano Ronaldo (2013-14) and Antoine Griezmann (2015-16) the only other players to win that particular gong. Rather bizarrely, the LaLiga Awards, the first official awards in the history of the league, weren’t established until 2008-09 and were discontinued after the 2015-16 season.
In addition to the Ballon d’Or, the Argentine has won several other “big ones”, including FIFA World Player of the Year/The Best FIFA Men’s Player three times, the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award three times and the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (for the best player at the tournament) twice. Not to mention a number of top goalscorer awards in Spain, Europe and even further afield.
Lionel Messi’s individual awards: full list
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