Inter Miami took on New York City FC on Friday night in a friendly match branded ‘Noche d’Or’. It also brought the curtain down on a seismic season which saw Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba all move to South Florida.
The night ended on a sour note as NYCFC secured a 2-1 win, with tempers boiling over between the two teams and Messi missing a last-gasp free-kick. But before kick-off on Friday night, the 36-year-old was presented to the crowd at 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 a few weeks after arriving in the United States.
Lionel Messi vowed to bring more silverware to Inter Miami following their win in Leagues Cup
Inter Miami hosted a night of celebration to mark Messi’s record eighth Ballon D’Or
On Friday night, Messi and Co faced New York City FC in a friendly match branded ‘Noche d’Or’
‘We secured 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 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, now much less that next year will be much better.
‘We will continue to have fun and win more titles. I hope you’re with me. Like these months, next year we have very important things and we need to do it together.’
The World Cup winner, who signed a two-and-a-half-year deal, also paid tribute to Inter Miami’s supporters and the people of South Florida for making his family feel welcome following their arrival in July.
‘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 a long time,’ he added.
‘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 me feel at home. It’s a city with a lot of Latinos and I feel comfortable.’
Messi was joined on the DRV PNK Stadium field by MLS commissioner Don Garber and Inter Miami’s co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas.
The World Cup winner was presented to the crowd at DRV PNK Stadium ahead of kick-off
‘I’ve been here for a short time but it seems like I’ve been here a long time,’ Messi said
NYCFC secured a 2-1 win, with tempers boiling over and Messi missing a last-gasp free-kick
‘To our fans, to our beloved city, tonight is a night of celebration,’ Jorge Mas said. ‘122 days ago, Lionel Messi, Antonela and their family landed in this great city – 200 yards from here.
‘Lionel Messi started a new chapter in his life but more importantly he wrote a new chapter in the history of your Inter Miami, of your football cub.
‘This football club was created on a dream, that South Florida would house the greatest football team that his country has ever seen… we had the privilege to be in Paris to hand Lionel Messi the eighth Ballon d’Or to the greatest player that ever lived.’
Garber also traveled to South Florida for the celebration and he took the microphone 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 who has ever played the game… thank you Leo for your belief in MLS, making your club and our league a league of choice.’