Messi beaten to MLS newcomer award by Atlanta’s Giakoumakis

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Atlanta United striker Giorgos Giacomakis The Inter Miami star beat Lionel Messi to be named the 2023 MLS Rookie of the Year on Thursday.

Greece international Giacomakis, 28, has 17 goals and three assists in 27 appearances (21 starts) this season.

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Giacomakis earned 45.8% of the vote from players, club technical staff and media to beat fellow finalists Messi (27.3%) and St Louis’ Eduard Loewen. Louis City SC (15.4%).

The award recognizes the most influential player of the year with prior professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2023.

Giacomakis signed for Atalanta from Scottish side Celtic in February to replace Joseph Martinez.

He is the second Atlanta player and third overall to win the award, joining Thiago Almada (2022) and Miguel Almiron (2017).

Messi, who joined Miami in July, was nominated for the award despite having limited MLS league play due to a foot injury sustained while on duty with Argentina in September.

He managed just 372 minutes in six appearances (four starts), scoring one goal and providing two assists as Miami missed out on a spot in the MLS playoffs.

Messi, who won his record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or award on Monday, still had plenty to celebrate from his first month in Miami.

The Argentine scored 10 goals in seven games to lead the club to their first trophy, lifting the League Cup and winning the World Cup. He also played in Miami’s US Open Cup semifinal win over Cincinnati.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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