Less than 24 hours removed from further cementing his place in soccer history at Monday’s star-studded ceremony in Paris, the legendary No. 10 was back in South Florida the next morning and practicing alongside his Herons teammates.
As expected, Messi received a hero’s welcome to celebrate his latest milestone, complete with speeches, a tunnel of honor and a large cutout “8” signed by the entire squad.
Messi’s immediate return to Miami – including an overnight, transatlantic flight – suggests he's far from satisfied with his astonishing first half-season at the club. After his July arrival, the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner guided the Herons to the Leagues Cup 2023 title – their first-ever trophy – as well as the US Open Cup final.
Injuries and national team commitments with Argentina limited his playing time during the final stretch of the MLS season, as Miami missed out on the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.
But Messi, along with fellow blockbuster summer signings Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, are now preparing to take the club to the next level. They'll have plenty of silverware to play for next year, with the Herons scheduled to take part in the Concacaf Champions Cup, in addition to MLS and other commitments.
And with Miami eyeing additional elite reinforcements, Messi and Co. may be poised for even bigger and better things in 2024.