Time Magazine's Athlete of the Year: Lionel Messi

Time Magazine's Athlete of the Year: Lionel Messi

It’s hard to find an athlete these days who’s as passionate, authentic, and driven as Lionel Messi. The Argentinian soccer player was just recently named Time Magazine’s 2023 Athlete of the Year. With thousands of athletes worldwide, it’s no surprise to us that Messi was chosen this year to be a representation of athletes across the globe.

Messi has always been considered one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game, but this confirms that he’s one of the greatest athletes to ever live. Time began recognizing an athlete of the year back in 2019 where the United States Women’s National Team received the very first award. Like the Person of the Year, and CEO of the Year, Time votes for a person who has had a successful year in their field and has made an impact on their category at wide.


Previous Time Athlete Winners

2019 – USWNT

2020 – Lebron James

2021 – Simone Biles

2022 – Aaron Judge

2023 – Lionel Messi


After leading the Argentina National squad to World Cup victory this time last year, Messi has been in the spotlight, reminding the world of his impact on the sport. Soon after, he shocked the world by transferring to David Beckham’s Inter Miami squad – forever changing the MLS market. Messi has only had the chance to play 14 games for Miami, but he’s already produced 11 goals, five assists, and led the team to their first ever trophy. In Time’s writeup on Messi, Beckham said that “From day one, Leo arrives early, and he leaves later than any other player. He is the most professional player on the squad”. Messi’s not only a role model for young athletes, but to long-time ones as well.

Even though his transfer to Miami has made a significant impact on the way we view the sport, Messi admitted in his interview with Time that Barcelona was his first choice upon leaving Paris Saint-Germain. A spot in the Saudi Arabia league was also up for grabs where he could play alongside superstars like Ronaldo, Benzema, and PSG teammate Neymar. Messi said to Time that “as the country's tourism ambassador, it was a destination that attracted me, especially because I've enjoyed everything I have visited, because of how football is growing in the country and because of the effort they are putting into creating a top competition”. Ultimately, Miami felt like a fresh start for Messi.

Along with this recognition, Messi has also made history by becoming the first ever male soccer player to be named the Athlete of the Year by Time. This award comes only two months after he was awarded his 8th Ballon d’Or – a record breaking number.

Having cemented his legacy as one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the sport, Messi has had a historical career that we’ve been lucky enough to watch unravel. With a World Cup win, his 8th Ballon d’Or, and now Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year under his belt, we can’t wait to see where Messi’s journey with Miami takes him!


If you’re interested in reading about how Lionel Messi’s phenomenal career has developed, take a quick read of our Messi Feature Blog!


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