Gareth Bale believes Lionel Messi will enjoy life away from the crucible of European and international football when he starts his new career in MLS.
The World Cup winner is scheduled to make his debut for his new club, Inter Miami, on 21 July. And while his imminent arrival has generated plenty of interest in the US, Bale believes the pressure will be negligible compared to Messi’s experience playing for Barcelona, Paris St-Germain and Argentina.
MLS has long been derided by many as a “retirement league” where aging European stars go for one final payday. The league and teams have changed that narrative as younger, homegrown talent has become more prominent but Bale, who ended his career with LAFC and played for Real Madrid in La Liga, suggested the 35-year-old Messi would find MLS a relatively comfortable experience.
“It is a lot more chilled,” Bale told BT Sport. “If you lose at Real Madrid, it is like the world has ended. You are crucified. You feel down. You go home and you’re not happy.
“They accept losing a bit more [in MLS]. There is no consequence. You can’t get relegated over there. When you lose a game you go on to the next one. They accept losing a lot better over there. They know how to lose but they celebrate every win like you have won the championship. He will definitely enjoy it.”
Bale achieved success during his time in MLS. He scored a last-gasp equalizer in last season’s MLS Cup final as LAFC beat Philadelphia Union to claim their first title. Messi faces a struggle to match that feat: Inter Miami sit bottom of the Eastern Conference, eight points adrift of a chance to play in the postseason.