Herrera convinced Liga MX standard is better than MLS
Miguel Herrera is unbending in his belief that Liga MX is still better than MLS, and indicated that Zlatan Ibrahimovic's recent transfer to the LA Galaxy showed deals north of the border aren't entirely transparent.
Whether MLS clubs have caught up with Liga MX contemporaries in terms of quality has been a popular debate in recent weeks, spurred by the respective runs of Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls in the CONCACAF Champions League. Club America manager Herrera, however, is insistent that Mexico's top flight is superior despite operating with inferior finances.
Related: Is MLS really on par with Liga MX?
"They've got better, they have spent stratospheric amounts of money," Herrera told Fox Sports, as reported by ESPN's Tom Marshall. "They compete with Europe in (terms of) money. That doesn't happen in Mexico.
"(It's) a league that is growing well, taking giant steps each day and bringing in players that aren't ready to retire, but quality ones with five or six years left in their career, (as well as) bringing back national team players.
"I think they are growing well and doing things right, (but) I still insist that our league is strong and I still think we're on top of their league."
As Herrera said, the average age of Designated Players has dropped in recent years, proving that footballers in their prime are now being tempted by MLS. There are also famous names working below that pay bracket, with Ibrahimovic earning just $1.5 million per year at the Galaxy. But Herrera believes there's more to that fee, suggesting that MLS do "things under the table" to entice players like Ibrahimovic.
"Zlatan goes to MLS and what he supposedly earns in Galaxy is nothing compared to what he earned in Manchester (with United)," Herrera said.
"Naturally they gave him something aside so he'd be happy to go to the league."
Herrera added that how established Liga MX is means it more closely aligns itself with European leagues such as the Netherland's Eredivisie and Portugal's Primeira Liga, rather than concerning itself with lower-ranking MLS "growing as it should" considering its ambitious plans.
The outspoken 50-year-old will try to overturn a 3-1 deficit when MLS Cup-holder Toronto FC visits the Estadio Azteca on Tuesday in the return leg of their Champions League semi-final duel.
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