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23rd Feb 2022

MLS chief fires back at Neymar for patronising vacation comments

Daniel Brown

Don Garber wasn’t impressed with Neymar’s comments

MLS commissioner Don Garber has hit back at Neymar and insisted that the league is not a retirement home for players at the end of their careers.

Garber’s comments come after the Paris Saint-Germain man revealed that he would ‘love’ to play in the United States for ‘at least’ a season after his current contract expires in 2025.

The Brazilian, who was appearing on the Fenomenos podcast, said: “Their season is shorter so I would get three months vacation. I would play many more years.”

While a host of top players have played in the MLS towards the end of their career – including Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa – Garber believes the MLS has moved past the days of signing players for one last payday.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of the new season, he said: “We don’t need to bring in a big name player at the end of their career because they decided they want to retire in the MLS.

“We want our story to be about young players coming here at the earliest stages or in the prime of their career and making our league their league of choice.”

The 64-year-old made reference to Chicago Fire’s addition of former Liverpool star Xherdan Shaqiri – with the 30-year-old joining from Ligue 1 side Lyon.

“You have players coming at 30, I don’t think 30 is old when you are an MLS player,” he added.

Garber also pointed out that Zlatan Ibrahimovic left Los Angeles Galaxy to join AC Milan, and that ‘nobody said’ the veteran striker ‘went to retire in Italy’.

The new MLS season begins on Saturday, with a new team based in Charlotte, North Carolina joining the league this year.

New York City FC head into the new campaign as defending champions after defeating the Portland Timbers on penalties in December.

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