Many internationally recognized soccer players have joined the ranks of Major League Soccer (MLS) over the past three decades. Lionel Messi will overshadow all these legends, but several of these athletes have allowed the whole planet to take a look at the North American championship.
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Here are 10 of the most famous football specialists to have played in the Garber circuit.
The Ivorian is considered the one of the greatest African players in history and his arrival with the Montreal Impact in 2015 did not go unnoticed. The great Chelsea scorer was a real idol for Quebec fans. One of his former teammates, Frank Lampard, also caused a stir in New York City.
The former Montreal head coach first tasted MLS in 2010 with the New York Red Bulls. The French striker won the World Cup in 1998 and was a four-time recipient of the English Premier League's Golden Boot.
When handsome David Beckham joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, the world almost stopped spinning. The Englishman still had good years ahead of him in Europe, but he chose to temporarily turn to the United States. For a long time, his visit to the Olympic Stadium in 2012 was the building's record attendance (60,860 people).
The modest Zlatan Ibrahimovic, recently retired, also played for the Galaxy. The inimitable Swede made quite an impact in Los Angeles upon his arrival, assuring everyone that the city of angels now had its god in addition to its king LeBron James. His flamboyant spell in MLS, in 2018 and 2019, remains etched in our memories.
Before coaching D.C. United , Wayne Rooney also played there. The man in the midst of Manchester United's successes during the 2000s brought with him a wealth of experience. With Lampard and Steven Gerrard, England were very well represented on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The midfielder known for his elegant style surprised Italian fans when he left the country for New York City FC in 2016. Pirlo was one of Serie A's most influential footballers, with spells at Juventus, Inter and AC Milan.
Speaking of Italy, many CF Montreal fans may have forgotten that Alessandro Nesta played for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir in 2012 and 2013. Considered one of the best defenders in history, the legend of the “Rossoneri” joined his friend Marco Di Vaio in the Quebec metropolis.
One of the greatest of his generation, Brazilian Kaka was the face of Orlando City SC for three years. The former Real Madrid player is one of four players, including Messi, to have won the Ballon d'Or before moving to MLS.
Who are the other two? First Stoichkov, who won it in 1994. The ex-Barcelonian, the greatest soccer player in Bulgarian history, joined the Chicago Fire at the turn of the 2000s and also represented D.C. United. He is not the best known, but his track record speaks for itself.
Matthäus won almost everything during his career, including the 1990 Ballon d'Or. He played in five World Cups and played nearly 800 club games. He completed his last lap in 2000 with the now defunct New York MetroStars.