Some very big names have been tipped to move.

8 Champions League winners who could join Olivier Giroud in the MLS this summer

Olivier Giroud is set to join Champions League winners including the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Xherdan Shaqiri in moving to the MLS.

The French striker will depart AC Milan at the end of the season and has already announced that he’ll join his former Les Bleus team-mate Hugo Lloris at Los Angeles FC.

Who could be next? We’ve identified eight Champions League winners that could potentially follow Giroud across the Atlantic later this year.

Kevin De Bruyne

“He’s 32 and he’s been around in Europe for many, many years,” Benteke said on MLS’ ‘Extratime’ show last month.

“I can see him at a team in LA.”

The Belgian’s incredibly lucrative contract with Manchester City runs for one more season. And on the evidence of the major impact he’s made since returning from injury mid-season, Pep Guardiola could definitely do with having him around a while longer yet.

But if City do make it four-in-a-row, there’ll be an argument that he’d have nothing left to prove in English football. He’s slowing down physically and a change of pace might do him good.

You can imagine he’ll look at the way Messi is ripping apart MLS defences and fancy a bit of that for himself.

New reports have claimed that MLS expansion side San Diego FC, set to enter the league for the 2025 season, have ambitious plans to build their side around the playmaker.

Carlos Vela celebrates for LAFC.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every MLS Golden Boot winner since 2005?


“I said at half-time that he had to bring Casemiro off,” Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports following Manchester United’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace.

“I think Casemiro, I am being deadly serious, should know himself tonight as an experienced player, that he should only have another three games at the top level, the next two league games and the [FA Cup] final, and thinking I need to go to the MLS or Saudi.”

Fabrizio Romano reports that Saudi Pro League clubs are indeed weighing up a move for the five-time Champions League winner, who still has two years left to run on his contract at Manchester United – where you imagine Sir Jim Ratcliffe is desperate to offload the ailing high earner.

There’s less noise about interest from North America. That makes some degree of sense, given that there’s an intensity and physicality to MLS that wouldn’t suit a player very visibly slowing down, despite its reputation as a retirement league.

Still, Messi and Suarez have shown that you can compensate for a lack of legs with speed of thought.

Raphael Varane

The French defender only recently turned 31, but he has the jaded demeanour of someone much older. The thousands of minutes in his legs tell a different story.

He’s already retired from international duty and spoken honestly about the toll the top-level European club schedule is taking on his body.

Muscular injuries have seen Varane regularly sidelined over the course of his three years with Manchester United, which can’t have gone as he’d have envisaged when he departed the Bernabeu after lifting four Champions League trophies with Real Madrid.

He’s yet to declare his next move after announcing that he’ll depart Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of the season. But if there’s one player that looks as though they’d embrace a fresh start in a totally new environment, it’s Varane.

There’ll surely be no lack of interest from major MLS clubs.

READ NEXT: The 10 players with the most goals and assists in MLS in 2024: Can anyone catch Lionel Messi?

TRY A QUIZ: The Ultimate Lionel Messi Quiz: 30 tough questions to test your knowledge of the GOAT


The 34-year-old has been a wonderful servant to his boyhood club. Since developing his skills at La Fabrica, he’s gone on to win four La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues with Real Madrid.

Club captain these days, he’s eyeing one more Champions League before waving goodbye and trying something new.

Spanish outlet Marca report that the defender will sign for an unspecified MLS club this summer after making his decision to leave the Spanish capital.

It’s believed that he’s turned down more lucrative offers from the Saudi Pro League, as well as interest from other European clubs, to make his move to North America.

Sergio Ramos

Another stalwart of that Real Madrid side that dominated the Champions League in the mid-2010s, Ramos turned down Saudi cash to make a romantic return to his hometown club Sevilla last summer.

But he only signed a one-year deal with the beleaguered La Liga outfit and the reunion looks set to be a short one.

The New York Times report that MLS expansion side San Diego FC are in advanced talks with the era-defining Spanish defender.

Between that and De Bruyne, they’re evidently ambitious and looking to make a splash when they arrive on the scene next year. Watch this space.

Thiago Alcantara

There’s a tendency to look at Thiago’s career with a resigned sigh, thinking ‘what if?’.

It’s true that he might have achieved even more had he remained injury-free throughout his career, but this is still a guy that won the Champions League with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich and might well have done so with Liverpool had he been fit and firing in the 2022 final.

But this appears to be his final season at Anfield and those muscular injuries have really started to bite, reducing him to just one five-minute cameo for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds this season.

We wouldn’t be totally shocked if the 33-year-old decides to call it a day and turn his attention to coaching, but we’d be thrilled to see him back on the pitch and spreading the ball about for an MLS club. Fingers crossed he can go on and enjoy an Indian summer.

READ: The 10 oldest players in MLS 2024 feat. forgotten Barca man & two ex Premier League stalwarts…

Jordan Henderson

The former Liverpool captain only joined Ajax in January, signing a deal that runs until 2026, but it appears that his stint in Amsterdam might prove shorter than his stay in Saudi Arabia.

“In life if you want to call them regrets or mistakes, you can call them that,” Henderson told reporters when he was unveiled at Ajax in January.

“But, at the same time, they’re only mistakes if you don’t learn from them.

“Looking back, at the time, obviously it was a big decision. It was a decision I felt was right for me and my family at the time, but things happen. Things change quickly in football.”

New reports have claimed that Ajax’s failure to qualify for the Champions League has left them in a financially precarious state. There’s a need to cut wages, which has thrown Henderson and club captain Steven Bergwijn’s futures into doubt.

The Saudi move didn’t go to plan for Henderson, but you imagine that he’d find it easier to adapt to life in the United States.

You could easily imagine him following the path travelled by former England internationals like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.


The Brazilian superstar made a grand total of three Saudi Pro League appearances for Al Hilal before he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in October.

The club have gone on to beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr to the league title in his absence, but you imagine they’ll want to get their money’s worth out of his colossal salary when he makes his long-awaited return later this year.

His deal with the Riyadh club runs until 2025, with the option of another year.

So the idea of an MLS club getting Neymar out of that contract, taking a risk on a player that’s barely played in a year, is unlikely at best. And yet the links to Messi’s Inter Miami won’t go away – while the man himself is all too happy to fan the flames of that speculation.

“I’d love to play in the U.S., actually. I’d love to play there at least for a season,” Neymar told the Fenomenos Podcast last year.

“Hopefully we [myself and Messi] can play together again,” he said in a separate interview with ESPN Argentina.

“Leo is a great person, everyone knows him in football and I think he is very happy and if he is happy, I am too.”