Just saw the quote from Ashley Cole about playing in the US. So ignorant. Prime example why there's a buyer beware tag on most foreigners.— Alecko Eskandarian (@alecko11) July 24, 2014
Former MLS star Alecko Eskandarian has taken to Twitter to rubbish Ashley Cole’s disparaging remarks about the league, following the 33-year-old’s recent move to Roma.
Leaving Chelsea this summer after eight seasons at the club, Cole revealed he had offers from the US but chose to remain in Europe with the Serie A outfit because he ‘wasn’t ready to relax on a beach yet’, later expanding on his views on his own Twitter page.
b4 I signed at Roma people on here killing me about playing there, saying it's for the money and easy life style, I choose to play in a— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) July 22, 2014
More demanding place and team and people still feel the need to moan, how about you just worry about ur team and I'll worry about mine,— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) July 22, 2014
The son of former Iran and New York Cosmos defender Adranik Eskandrian, the younger Eskandrian was the number one pick in the 2003 SuperDraft, scoring 30 goals in 125 MLS games between spells at D.C. United, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy, before concussion issues forced an early retirement in 2010.
Cole’s comments understandably caused a fair amount more uproar around league circles, with former Liverpool legend Steve Nicol, who managed the New England Revolution for 10 seasons, also hitting back at the ex-England international.
Ashley cole said if I wanted an easy ride I would have gone to MLS. Such an ignorant comment. MLS does not want you thanks— Stephen Nicol (@SteveNicol61) July 24, 2014
The remarks were even brought up during Frank Lampard’s official unveiling by expansion club New York City FC on Thursday, with his former Chelsea teammate moving quickly to quash suggestions that the move was anything to do with enjoying time on a beach.
F. Lampard on A. Cole/#MLS: ".. I'm not the kind of man that comes to lie on the beach. I haven't been on a beach in 5 or 10 years' time..."— Inside MLS (@InsideMLS) July 24, 2014
While such comments about MLS being a “retirement league” were once widespread, the recent arrivals of big-names such as Clint Dempsey, Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley, David Villa and Kaka to compliment the likes of Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill have certainly made for a more competitive environment.
What largely started with David Beckham in 2007 has seen MLS go through a significant amount of growth over the past few years, with an influx of established international and domestic stars vastly improving the quality of play, and making Cole’s comments largely laughable.