With the way he took Major League Soccer by storm, it’s not surprising that Lionel Messi had the top selling jersey in his first season in the league.
According to data compiled by MLS from retail sales in its online store since January 1, Messi’s Inter Miami shirt was the top-selling amongst all MLS Adidas jerseys in 2023. The soccer great’s first Inter Miami match was on July 24.
Messi’s teammates — Sergio Busquets (13th) and Josef Martínez (21st) — also cracked the top 25, tying Miami with St. Louis City SC and Seattle Sounders FC for the most entries. Former Barcelona star Jordi Alba, who followed Messi and Busquets to Miami, did not make the rankings.
St. Louis striker João Klauss — another first-year MLS player — came in at second on the list. St. Louis’ prominent presence in the rankings makes sense given it’s the club’s first season in the league.
Rounding out the top five were Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC), Sebastián Driussi (Austin FC), and Carlos Vela (LAFC), who had the top-selling jersey in 2020.
Messi taking the top spot continues the trend of aging superstars immediately driving demand for jerseys in their first MLS season: LAFC’s Gareth Bale had 2022’s top-selling shirt in his first and only season in the league.
The irony of Messi’s achievement is that many fans who ordered his jersey probably still haven’t received it.
Many soccer retailers and manufacturers struggled to keep up with the immense demand when Messi’s arrival was first announced. Soccer.com and Adidas expect to deliver orders in mid-October, while MLSstore.com is still only taking preorders that expect to deliver in early December.