MLS rivals New York City FC defeated Inter Miami 2-1 in a friendly match held to honour Argentine ace Lionel Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or on Friday.
Inter Miami celebrated Argentine sensation Lionel Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or on Friday, although they lost 2-1 to MLS rivals New York City FC in their friendly match to commemorate the accomplishment. The loss was only a minor incident on a joyous evening that started with Messi thanking supporters for their warm reception of him in Florida in a game involving two clubs that were long since out of the running for the MLS championship. The DRV PNK stadium was almost full of supporters, many of whom were yelling “Messi! Messi!” in chorus, even though the team’s MLS season finished last month.
Raising the trophy he’d won in Paris last month, Messi remarked, “Thank you for being here, for this beautiful tribute.” “Even though I haven’t been here long, it feels like I have.
“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone in Miami—not just those who are present, but the entire city—for the care my family and I have received during this difficult period.
“They showed me a lot of affection, they made me feel at home.”
Arriving to Inter Miami in July, the 36-year-old superstar was greeted with a rousing welcome. In August, he led the struggling team to victory in a Leagues Cup competition including clubs from the Mexican and MLS leagues.
On August 26, he made his debut for Miami in the MLS regular season as a second-half substitute. He ended an 11-game losing streak for Inter by scoring in the team’s 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls.
However, Messi was unable to propel Miami from the league basement into the MLS Cup playoffs due to a late-season leg injury.
Still, he’s energised the US league, as evidenced by the surge in jersey sales, MLS season pass viewing subscription sales, and ticket sales wherever Miami played.
The crowd was yelling for him once more towards the end of Friday’s game, but he was unable to equalise as NYCFC prevailed thanks to goals from Talles Magno and Julian Fernandez.
This year’s World Cup in Qatar, where Messi scored seven goals and was awarded the tournament’s best player as he led Argentina to victory, was the reward for his latest Ballon d’Or win. These heroics were accomplished well before Messi’s move to the Major League Soccer.
Although his team will defend the League Cup title and play in both the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions Cup in addition to the MLS season, Messi stated that he was looking to build on Miami’s success in the League Cup.
“I had no doubt that we were going to have a good time, that we were going to enjoy ourselves and today I have even less doubts that next year is going to be much better,” he said.