Lionel Messi receives spine-tingling reception as he presents eighth Ballon d’Or to Inter Miami fans
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Lionel Messi made more history on Friday night, when he became the only player to present the Ballon d’Or award at three different clubs – Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and, of course, Inter Miami.
The 36-year-old forward lifted a record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30, beating Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to the prestigious award.
It has been a memorable 12 months for Messi, who captained Argentina to a historic World Cup title in December.
And to celebrate his latest individual gong, Messi presented the 'Golden Ball' to Inter Miami's sold out DRV PNK Stadium crowd ahead of a club friendly against New York City.
To close the 2023 season in America, the MLS side decided to pay tribute to their number 10 with a fixture branded the "Noche d’Or” – and it was a real spectacle before kick-off. Check out the scenes below:
Speaking to the Inter Miami faithful, Messi promised that next year will be "much better" in a stirring speech.
“Thank you for being here, for this lovely honor," he began. "For me, it’s really beautiful to be able to share it with you. I’ve only been here a short time, but it feels like I’ve been here forever.
“I want to thank all the people of Miami, not only those that are here in the stadium, but the city in general for how they’ve treated me all these months, both myself and my family.
"They’ve shown me a lot of kindness, making me feel at home. It’s a city with lots of Latinos, which makes me feel really comfortable. We’re doing well here, so thank you very much.”
You can watch his speech in full below:
Lionel Messi's speech as he presents his Ballon d'Or with Inter Miami.pic.twitter.com/zMq0uwRxgE— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) November 11, 2023
Back in August, Inter Miami lifted their first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup title, thanks in part to the brilliance of Messi.
He opened up about that historic win, as well as the future, in his presentation on Friday.
“We’ve been here a short time but we already achieved something very important, which was the first title for this club, for our club," Messi added.
"It's something very important because we went for it, the club needed it. For us players, for how we were doing, it’s important for what’s to come next year. And why not the possibility of playing an important tournament?
"Like I said in the beginning, I had no doubts we were going to have fun, we were going to enjoy. And today I have no doubts, just like in the beginning, that next year will be much better.
"We’re going to keep on having fun, keep on winning titles. And hopefully you join us like you did all these months I’ve been here because we really need your support. It was amazing having you close.
"Like I said before, next year we have important things and we have to do it together. Thank you very much. Goodnight."