Montreal Impact star and former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba believes MLS is on its way to becoming one of the top leagues in the world and believes the rough travel schedule makes it a more difficult league to play in than the Premier League.
Speaking to Tony Jimenez of Reuters, the 37-year-old striker heaped praise on MLS:
It's a different challenge (in the U.S.). People think it's easy to play there. Believe me, it's more difficult than playing in the Premier League because of the travel.
You can stay at an airport for three or four hours if you miss your flight, so that is what is really leveling the game.
There are not a lot of away wins because when the teams arrive they are tired. There are also some very good players in the league.
It's a growing league and I think it's going to be one of the most important and decisive leagues in the world in a few years.
Drogba scored an impressive 12 goals in 14 matches during his first season with Montreal after joining the team from Chelsea at the end of the 2014-15 campaign. The Impact qualified for the MLS play-offs and beat rivals Toronto FC in the knockout round before losing to Columbus Crew in the semi-finals.
MLS saw a massive influx of talent coming from Europe the past season, with veterans Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard joining New York City FC, Steven Gerrard switching to LA Galaxy and Sebastian Giovinco moving to Toronto.
While the veterans looked solid, if unspectacular, in their first season in the U.S., Giovinco was nothing short of spectacular. The Italian broke several records and was voted best newcomer, per MLS' official Twitter account:
His impact and Drogba's fantastic numbers won't help the perception of the league, as the former was little more than a bench player with Juventus before his move and the latter scored just four goals in his last Premier League season, per WhoScored.com.
Players such as Drogba and Giovinco will surely raise the profile of the league, however, and they were hardly the only outstanding performers. Columbus' Kei Kamara is one of the favourites to win the MVP award, and team-mate Ethan Finlay firmly established himself as one of the league's best midfielders.
With so much talent now plying their trade in MLS, the future of the league seems incredibly bright. The teams may lack the history and prestige of some of their European counterparts, but with a huge TV market and a massive potential fanbase, their financial power should only increase in the coming years.
Rivaling the Premier League or La Liga will be a stiff task, but according to Drogba, it's only a matter of time.