MLS over Milan? Christian Pulisic told he should’ve followed Lionel Messi as USMNT legend Landon Donovan reacts to Chelsea transfer decision

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Christian Pulisic AC Milan
Christian Pulisic has been told by USMNT legend Landon Donovan that he should have followed Lionel Messi to MLS, rather than head for AC Milan.
  • American preparing to leave Stamford Bridge
  • Deal lined up by Serie A heavyweights
  • World Cup heading to the States in 2026

WHAT HAPPENED? The United States international forward appears destined to be on the move in the summer transfer window, with a four-year spell at Chelsea – one that has seen him become a Champions League winner – being brought to a close. Pulisic is expected to swap the Premier League for Serie A, as he joins Milan’s ranks at San Siro, but Donovan has suggested that moving back home – with Argentine icon Messi about to join Inter Miami – could have been a better option ahead of the 2026 World Cup finals that will be co-hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico.

WHAT THEY SAID: Donovan, who earned 157 caps for America and once starred for the LA Galaxy, has told FOX Sports of Pulisic’s impending switch to Italy: “The World Cup is coming in three years. This is once in a lifetime. He’s going to be in the prime of his career, his life as a soccer player, his earning potential — I’m sure he’s making plenty of money — but the ability to come to MLS kind of like Messi did. I’m not so sure that wasn’t a big reason for Messi, the World Cup coming here.

“I think it would have been a great move … for the Galaxy to go out and get Christian. Bring him here, pay whatever you have to pay him. Bring an American superstar who has global recognition back to MLS ahead of the World Cup. I think it would have been a great move and I can hear the Twitterverse going crazy.”

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Donovan added on what Pulisic needs from his next move, with regular starts proving hard to come by for the talented forward in 2022-23 as he registered just one goal for Chelsea through 30 appearances in all competitions: “My biggest thing is he needs to play. I know we all said when he went to Chelsea, ‘He’s going to play a lot.’ He didn’t play a lot, especially last year. At Milan. I would think he’s going play a lot but you just don’t know. So leading into the World Cup, what if he spends the last six months leading into 2026 like he did this year, then what happens? He’s not playing a lot and he’s not in good form going into the World Cup. The best version is him at a place like Milan, playing every week, killing the league and he’s ready in 2026. But there’s a lot of risk.”


Christian Pulisic Chelsea 2022-23

Lionel Messi Inter Miami

Landon Donovan USMNT Algeria 2010 World Cup

WHAT NEXT? Pulisic is poised to join Milan in a €20 million (£17m/$22m) deal and he may be joined by a number of international colleagues in Serie A, with Timothy Weah already on his way to Juventus as the likes of Yunus Musah and Folarin Balogun are heavily linked with teams in Italy.