Neymar has recently made big headlines when he hinted at a possible MLS move in the future. The Brazilian is certainly comfortable at PSG but he left the door open to a move abroad in the final years of his career.
"I'd love to play in the US actually. I'd love to play there at least for a season. First of all, their season is shorter, so I'd get three months' vacation," Neymar told Brazilian streamer Gaules on Twitch.
Even though many would be thrilled with the idea of seeing the former Barcelona star in the US, his comment didn't sit well with everyone. Especially with commissioner Don Garber, who has made clear MLS is not a 'retirement' league.
MLS commissioner Don Garber gives a harsh response to Neymar's comments
“We want our story to be about young players who are coming here at the earliest stages in their career or in their prime of their careers, and making our league their league of choice," Garber said in a press conference, as quoted by Sports Illustrated. "And you’ve seen a dramatic shift from where we were to where we are today.
“When we look at bringing players at 30 and younger than that, I’m proud of that. As it relates to when they get older, if that makes sense, that’s great. If they’re not here to come and play and be a great contributor to their club and to our league and to respect the league and its fans, then we don’t want them in Major League Soccer. So we don’t need to bring in a big-name player at the end of their career because they’ve decided they’d like to retire in MLS.”
Garber on the change in MLS over the years
The league has made a significant switch over the last few years, attracting young players with a lot of potential instead of setting their sights on veteran stars. However, Garber recognizes the role that the likes of Thierry Henry and David Beckham have played and is glad to have Xherdan Shaqiri for this season.
“I can’t imagine what [MLS] would be without players like that,” Garber said. “But you’ll also think about Josef Martínez and you think about [former Atlanta playmaker Miguel Almirón] and you think about some of the players that have come in recently, they’re what is what making [MLS] the league it is today.
“When Zlatan [Ibrahimović] left [the Galaxy] nobody said that he went to go retire in Italy. And frankly I was insulted by that,” Garber said about Zlatan's return to AC Milan after his stint with the Galaxy. “Because if Zlatan came to us at the same age he went back to Milan, it would’ve been a ‘retirement move’ on his part. And he worked his tail off in MLS and he’s working his tail off in Serie A. So I’m not quite sure why we’re viewed differently. But that is what it is.”