Lionel Messi wears awesome custom GOAT shirt and presents Ballon d’Or to Inter Miami fans, but then loses game
ChampionsLeague

Lionel Messi wears awesome custom GOAT shirt and presents Ballon d’Or to Inter Miami fans, but then loses game

Nov 12, 2023

Lionel Messi brought the curtain down on his first season in Major League Soccer in a special friendly to celebrate his record eighth Ballon d’Or.

The World Cup winner brought his Golden Ball out onto the pitch to show it off to fans ahead of a campaign-closing friendly with New York City FC – dubbed ‘Noche d’Or’, which translates to ‘Golden Evening’.

Messi was joined on the field by MLS commissioner Don Garber and Inter Miami co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas

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Messi was joined on the field by MLS commissioner Don Garber and Inter Miami co-owners Jorge and Jose MasCredit: Getty Images

The night ended in disappointment at the DRV PNK Stadium, with David Beckham-backed Miami losing 2-1 and Messi failing to really make an impact on the pitch.

Tempers flared between the players, too, and the star man had a golden chance to equalise with a late-gasp free-kick in prime Messi territory, only to miss the target.

It was clear the night was really about the Argentine maestro, not the score, with Messi even wearing a specially re-designed Inter badge which replaces their flamingo mascots with two golden goats.

But the season has come to a close at the right time for Messi and co, who are now on a run of just one win from ten games.

Read more on Lionel Messi

Messi enjoyed a stunning start to life in the United States, leading Miami to the club’s first ever piece of silverware in the America’s Cup just weeks after arriving from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

But injuries restricted his impact on the pitch, and the rest of the campaign did not go to plan, as they missed out on a place in the post-season play-offs and shot at the MLS Cup.

While everything Cristiano Ronaldo does in Saudi Arabia, good or bad, makes headline news on a weekly basis, Messi and Miami’s slump has gone under the radar in comparison.

But the all-time great vowed to bring more trophy success back to south Florida as he spoke to the sold-out crowd after the full-time whistle.

Messi holds his record eighth Ballon d'Or award aloft to show the Inter Miami crowd

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Messi holds his record eighth Ballon d’Or award aloft to show the Inter Miami crowdCredit: Getty Images
Messi was given a special one-off shirt to wear, paying tribute to the 'GOAT' of football

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Messi was given a special one-off shirt to wear, paying tribute to the ‘GOAT’ of footballCredit: Getty Images

“We secured something very important – the first title for our club,” he said. “It was something very important because we were looking for it and we needed it.

“I didn’t have a doubt that we were going to enjoy and have a good time. Today I have no doubt, like I had in the beginning, that next year will be much better.

Bodyguard stops young pitch invader at Inter Miami match before Lionel Messi comes over to give them a moment to never forget
The match didn't end the way Messi would have wanted, however

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The match didn’t end the way Messi would have wanted, howeverCredit: Getty Images
Messi addressed the Inter Miami fans and promised to deliver success for the club

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Messi addressed the Inter Miami fans and promised to deliver success for the clubCredit: Getty Images

“We will continue to have fun and win more titles. I hope you’re with me. Next year we we have very important things and we need to do it together.”

Then, speaking directly to fans, Messi said: “It’s beautiful to share it with you all – I’ve been here for a short time but it seems like I’ve been here for a long time.

“I’d like to thank all of the people of Miami – not only the ones in the stadium but everyone here – for the treatment in these months.

“For myself and my family, they made us feel at home. It’s a city with a lot of Latinos and I feel comfortable.”


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