Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world. The diminutive whiz is the three-time FIFA world player of the year. So naturally he’d grace plenty of magazine covers worldwide.
However here Stateside, King Leo apparently isn’t worthy yet (you know because soccer is still a niche sport in the U.S. despite the MLS’ continued growth and the exponential leap in interest in World Cups and Olympics – both men and women).
Time Magazine’s February 6th issue will feature Messi on its cover in Asia, Europe and Oceania. Not in the U.S. though.
The American Time cover instead features a small boy standing in a corner warning us about the effects of shyness.
Apparently, the only Lionel Americans care about is Richie. And to be honest, we hear more about his talentless daughter than the former Commodores lead man.
What’s ironic is that last week, SI.com (owned by Time Inc.) promoted its Ultimate Soccer Fantasy Draft, in which Sports Illustrated’s soccer writers/contributors picked from the best players of all-time. I repeat, ALL-TIME. Guess, who went first. Yup, Lionel Messi.
So Messi is good enough for Sports Illustrated to practically deem him the greatest player of all-time (still only 24-years old), but not good enough for the cover of the parent company’s flagship. Do Americans really hate soccer that much?
But you can’t blame Time’s editors really. They’re pretty picky about who they put on the cover. It’s usually reserved for those who really make a difference in the world. You know like Aldoph Hitler, who has featured on the cover twice, including in 1939 as Time’s Man of the Year.
It’s simple. In the U.S., a story about kids who won’t speak trumps a story about a sport most people don’t speak about.