By Daniel Matthews for Dailymail.Com
01:26 November 11, 2023, updated 06:54 November 11, 2023
- Inter Miami toasted Lionel Messi’s record eighth Ballon d’Or on Friday night.
- The World Cup winner was introduced to the crowd before the friendly against NYCFC.
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Lionel Messi vowed to bring more silverware to Inter Miami as the club held a celebratory evening to mark their record eighth Ballon D’Or triumph.
Inter Miami faced New York City FC on Friday evening in a friendly match dubbed “Noche d’Or”. It also ended a seismic season that saw Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba move to South Florida.
The evening ended on a sour note as NYCFC took a 2-1 victory, with tempers boiling between the two teams and Messi missing a last-gasp free kick. But Before Friday night’s kick-off, the 36-year-old was introduced to the crowd at the DRV PNK Stadium and he promised more trophies for the MLS club.
Messi led Inter Miami to glory in the Leagues Cup – the team’s first-ever trophy – just weeks after arriving in the United States.
“We achieved something very important: the first title for our club,” Messi said. “It was something very important because we were looking for it and we needed it.”
Messi added: “I had no doubt that we were going to enjoy and have a good time. Today I have no doubt like at the beginning, now much less that next year will be much better.
“We will continue to have fun and win more titles. I hope you are with me. Like these months, next year we have very important things and we must do them together.
The World Cup winner, who signed a two-and-a-half-year contract, also paid tribute to Inter Miami fans and South Florida residents for welcoming his family after their arrival in July.
“It’s nice to share this with all of you. I’ve been here a short time but it seems like I’ve been here a long time,” he added.
“I would like to thank all the people of Miami – not just those in the stadium but everyone here – for the treatment they have received over these months. For me and my family. They made me feel feel at home. It’s a city with a lot of Latinos and I feel comfortable.
Messi was joined on the pitch at DRV PNK Stadium by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Inter Miami co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas.
“For our fans, for our beloved city, tonight is a night of celebration,” Jorge Mas said. “122 days ago, Lionel Messi, Antonela and their family arrived in this big city, 200 meters from here.
“Lionel Messi has started a new chapter in his life but more importantly, he has written a new chapter in the history of your Inter Miami, of your little footballer.
“This football club was created on the basis of a dream, that South Florida would be home to the greatest football team the country has ever known…we had the privilege of being in Paris for award Lionel Messi the eighth Ballon d’Or to the greatest player who ever lived.
Garber also traveled to South Florida for the celebration and took the mic to pay tribute to Messi.
“When we founded this league, we had one goal: to be a league of choice,” he said.
“We wanted to be a league of choice for the best players and you have the best that have ever played this game…thank you Leo for your faith in MLS, making your club and our league a league of choice.”