MLS has been continuing its steady growth as a league in recent years. Part of the on the field growth has been an influx of more talent form around the globe, and part of it is the development of academy players. There are always rumors of major signings coming from Europe towards the end of their careers to enhance the league’s profile. Many are pure fantasy (Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi), but some are possible. With that in mind, here are some top end players not named Messi or Ronaldo, who could find their way to MLS in the next few years that we all would love to see.
The former Real Madrid and Spain National Team standout is one of the best to don the gloves. While goalkeepers typically do not grab the attention of fans, this one does. The following Casillas built up during the Spanish run of dominance and his Real Madrid days is unlike any other goalie.
Casillas used excellent positioning and his incredible reflexes to garner the standing among netminders as an all time great. He can still perform to a high level and would be a commanding presence on the back end for any team. A likely scenario for his MLS arrival would involve him joining Davis Beckham’s Miami expansion team. The two were teammates at Real Madrid, and the Miami community would be a good fit for Casillas.
The Manchester United hitman has been a dominant force in the Premier League for years, but the past few seasons have seen a decline in his once mighty powers. Rooney is still a threat to score with his thunderous shot and his knack for pulling goals out of thin air.
Rooney would bring fans to any team due to United’s following and the image he has cultivated over the years. There are fans who view him as a super hero of sorts and others who view him as the ultimate villain. Either way people will pay to see him. Joining the New York Red Bulls would be a dream scenario for fans pitting him against the Manchester City backed NYFC, and putting him into the media circus and party lifestyle New York can offer.
Another current Red Devil, Schweinsteiger is the driving midfield engine every team needs. He can be a passer, scorer and a destroyer depending on need.
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His season at Manchester United has been a disappointment compared to his years at Bayern Munich, but the German midfield general would still has plenty to offer. A spot on the Chicago Fire roster would mesh well with the city’s German population. With Milwaukee up the road, also housing a large German population, he could be an instant hit for the windy city.
The Swedish striker is one of the most lethal goal scorer’s in the world, which always sells tickets, but his interviews and quotes would be enough of a reason to bring him to MLS.
With his size, skill and movement, Ibra is one of the toughest players to deal with. He would be an instant nightmare for MLS defenses. A move to NYFC would be good to see as New York is the only city big enough to begin to fit his enormous ego. Zlatan being Zlatan gets plenty of play among soccer fans as it is. Putting him on Broadway would be a huge hit.
The Brazilian defender/midfielder has a flair to his game that matches his mop of hair. Many are divided on where he fits on the list of top players. His ability to make runs through the midfield and be a threat from a deep lying position coupled with the Brazilian National Team’s following would make him a big ticket item in MLS.
The Los Angeles Galaxy would be a potential suitor for his services. Luiz’s personality would be a good fit for the Hollywood scene. Teaming him with Troy Polamalu in shampoo commercials would be golden.
The Argentinian striker is a goal machine. With multiple stops at major clubs behind him, Tevez has gone home to his boyhood club, Boca Juniors, making the opportunity to lure him to MLS a little smaller.
With his ability to create and finish goals, Tevez could fit with any MLS team. His ability to run at defenders as well as finding seams to get off his shot plays well in many systems. Landing with DC United would delight many Screaming Eagles. With the DC area containing a large South and Central American contingent, tapping into the ethnic diversity of the district would be a hit at the ticket office as well.
Pure entertainment value alone is the reason Balotelli makes this list. There is no denying the natural talent the Italian has. Channeling that talent onto the field has been the problem in recent years.
When focused, he can be devastatingly effective. Balotelli is still young and could easily spend several seasons in Europe before considering MLS. If he ever considers MLS, a team like LAFC would provide the location and atmosphere he would like, but a Sporting Kansas City or Real Salt Lake would provide less distractions off the pitch.
Whether any of these players ever ends up in an MLS kit is anyone’s guess. It never hurts to imagine the possibilities as each of these players would create a buzz around MLS, and the league would be the better for it.