Miami, US, Oct 31 (EFE).- Argentine coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino and the Inter Miami team gave a rousing welcome to Lionel Messi on his return to the club’s training facility in Fort Lauderdale after receiving his eighth Ballon d’Or.
After participating in the Ballon d’Or gala in Paris on Monday night, Messi returned the following morning to the Florida Blue Training Center in Fort Lauderdale, where his teammates waited for him with a sign in the shape of the number eight and paid him a tribute.
“Eight Ballon d’Ors, you deserve it. We thank you for everything you did for football, and it is a pleasure for us to be working with you,” Brazilian player Gregore said.
Messi exchanged a heartfelt hug with his coach, ‘Tata’ Martino, as he was honored by his teammates.
The Argentine superstar is the first active player in Major League Soccer (MLS) history to win the most prestigious individual award in the sport and the fourth winner to play in the MLS.
Brazilian Ricardo Kaka, German Lothar Matthaus, and Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov were the other three Ballon d’Or winners who competed in MLS, although they had won the award years before arriving in the US.
Inter Miami, this year’s Leagues Cup champions, saw their season end after failing to qualify for the MLS playoffs. EFE