Ex-Real star: I hope Lionel Messi comes to Major League Soccer

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A former Real Madrid star has expressed his desire to have Lionel Messi join him in the United States' Major League Soccer (MLS).

Heading to the MLS in the twilight years of a footballer's career has become something of a norm, and with Messi having dominated in Europe for more than a decade, a former international teammate of his is now hoping the 34-year-old will make that switch too.

Scroll through the gallery above to see six former Real and Barca stars who joined MLS teams later in their careers

Having joined Paris Saint-Germain in August last year, the former FC Barcelona talisman has endured a mixed start to life in Paris and has been met with criticism by the French press a number of times.

In December, there were reports in Spain suggesting Messi was not happy in France, and that his wife Antonella Roccuzzo was keen on a return to their home in Barcelona.

There have also been claims that the Albiceleste captain could take his career to the US at some point in the future.

Former Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, who plays for Inter Miami – the club partly owned by David Beckham – is hopeful the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will make the switch to the US top flight.

"It is a very important league and it is growing a lot," Higuain told Stats Perform.

"Important players are coming and I think that in the future, it will continue to grow much more.

"I hope [Messi goes to MLS] because it would be a benefit for MLS and for the country, and if he so wishes, he would have fun and be happy here."

Read: 'Messi is a burden for PSG'

Other notable stars who recently joined clubs in the MLS include former Liverpool attacker Xherdan Shaqiri and ex-Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who joined Chicago Fire and Los Angeles Galaxy, respectively.

Here are 11 South African footballers who played in the MLS