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Lionel Messi wins eighth Ballon D'Or at Inter Miami celebration

Lionel Messi celebrates his eighth Ballon D'Or win with Inter Miami in a pregame ceremony, marking the end of his first year.

Lionel Messi proudly displayed his eighth Ballon D'Or award in a pregame ceremony at a friendly match between Inter Miami and New York City FC, marking the culmination of his first official four months with the team. As he walked onto the field with the trophy, the crowd erupted in cheers, emphasizing the significance of his remarkable achievement.

During the ceremony, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Inter Miami owners Jorge and Jose Mas embraced Messi, highlighting his importance to the team and the league. Garber praised the fans, declaring Messi as the best player to ever grace the game and thanking him for choosing Major League Soccer as his new home.

The event served as a fitting conclusion to Messi's first year with Inter Miami, with Coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino emphasizing his star status and the opportunity for fans to witness him in action. Messi expressed his gratitude for the warm reception from the Miami community, acknowledging the support he and his family had received.

Despite Inter Miami's home schedule concluding weeks prior, Messi's return to the field for the farewell was made possible by arranging a friendly against NYCFC after the team's planned games in China were canceled. Messi, who had been training with the team for the past two weeks, conveyed his appreciation to the Miami community and expressed optimism for the future, stating his belief that the upcoming year will be much better.

Looking ahead, Messi expressed his hope for winning more titles and invited the fans to continue supporting him in the upcoming 2024 season, which will be a busy one for Inter Miami as they compete in various tournaments alongside the MLS slate. With the anticipation of playing at least two more matches in 2023 with Argentina's World Cup qualifying games against Uruguay and Brazil, Messi's presence in the league continues to be a source of excitement and inspiration for fans. (With AP inputs)

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