- Lionel Messi was rewarded for a fantastic year for his club and country
- He led Inter Miami to its first trophy shortly after joining the club
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Lionel Messi won his eighth Ballon d’Or on Monday night – and was presented the award by fellow MLS trailblazer David Beckham.
Messi, 36, moved to Inter Miami over the summer just months after leading Argentina to victory in the World Cup.
But it was Beckham – now an Inter Miami co-owner – who first opened the floodgates into America, as he joined the LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007.
The former Manchester United and England star gushed over Messi, who led Miami to a Leagues Cup title shortly after joining the club.
‘It’s very special to say he’s a Miami player and he’s in our city. He’ll celebrate this with his team-mates and his family in his way.
David Beckham presented Lionel Messi with his eighth Ballon d’Or trophy on Monday
The two work together at Inter Miami, where ex-England star Beckham is the co-owner
Beckham joined the LA Galaxy in 2007 in a huge move before Messi joined MLS this year
‘We’ll do our best to celebrate it in the Miami way. I’m sure we can do a good party.’
Messi was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, and their three sons, Mateo, Thiago and Ciro.
The pair’s kids even joined Messi onstage as he accepted the award.
Despite winning the Leagues Cup, Miami failed to qualify for the MLS postseason following the arrivals of Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.
The team was last in the Eastern Conference when the trio joined.
The four-time Champions League winner arrived at the event alongside his family
Messi’s sons Mateo, Thiago and Ciro joined him onstage as he accepted the award
Messi made just six league appearances for Miami due to injury and international duty with Argentina.
Prior to his MLS move, Messi scored 32 goals in 55 games across all competitions for PSG, helping the side clinch the Ligue 1 title.
He also scored seven goals in the World Cup – including two in the final – as he led La Albiceleste to their first World Cup triumph since 1986.
He beat out the likes of Erling Haaland (second place) Kylian Mbappe (third) and Kevin De Bruyne (fourth) for this year’s Ballon d’Or.