Lionel Messi’s 8th Ballon d’Or trophy Celebration

Picture this incredible moment: Lionel Messi, with the Ballon d’Or held high above his head, as dazzling fireworks painted the night sky, bringing an end to a spectacular pregame ceremony. And right there, Inter Miami CF had the chance to salute the greatest player in the game once again in 2023.

On a Friday night, Lionel Messi graced the field for his Major League Soccer crew in a friendly against New York City FC. Why? Well, it was a special match crafted to honor Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or win, that coveted trophy given to the top player in the game. And let’s throw in a fun fact – no other player has snagged that award more times than Messi.

As Messi strolled onto the field, carrying the trophy like a true champ, he walked on a gold carpet spread across the pitch. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Inter Miami owners Jorge and Jose Mas eagerly awaited him for a quick pregame ceremony. There were hugs, embraces, and then the iconic moment – Messi lifting the trophy, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

“It’s beautiful to share it with you all,” Messi beamed. “I’ve been here for a short time, but it seems like a long time.”

The moment was so epic that even Commissioner Garber couldn’t resist capturing it on his cell phone. He praised the Inter Miami fans for having “the best player who’s ever played the game” and thanked Messi for making Major League Soccer a league of choice.

For Messi, this marked a perfect conclusion to his first four months with the club, bookended by on-field festivities. It started with a bang and ended with another celebration, looking forward to Year 2.

“He’s the main star of this match, and we want to join him in celebrating his eighth Ballon d’Or,” said Inter Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino. “It’s an opportunity for us to compete and for the fans to see Leo and his teammates on the field and say goodbye to the year.”

This bonus farewell happened on home turf, considering Inter Miami’s home schedule wrapped up over three weeks ago. Messi didn’t play that night, as he had just returned from World Cup qualifiers with Argentina. Originally slated for games in China, the team shifted gears, organizing this exhibition against NYCFC. Messi, having trained with the team for the past two weeks, joined the action after receiving the Ballon d’Or in Paris.

“I would like to thank all the people of Miami, not just the ones here in the stadium,” Messi said. “The treatment for myself and my family … you’ve made me feel at home.”

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