Messi: ‘After winning the World Cup, I don’t think much about the Ballon d’Or’

The Argentine football star spoke about his new life in Miami

Lionel Messi gave his press conference since being presented as a Inter Miami player. On the eve of his first final as a Herons player in the Leagues Cup, the Argentine star spoke on Thursday about his decision to move to the United States and what his current objectives are.

“I am very happy with the decision my family and I made, not only from a sports standpoint but also regarding life choices,” said Messi. “We enjoy the city and the way we have been received, which has been spectacular. I am grateful and happy.”

The World Cup-winner was surrounded by rumors after he announced he’d be leaving French outfit Paris Saint Germain in 2023. FC Barcelona made an attempt to get him back, while a record-money contract in the Saudi league and a homecoming to Newell’s Old Boys, the Argentine club where he played youth football, were also mentioned.

During the presentation, Messi pushed back against those who criticize him for moving to a league of a lower footballing standard, claiming that while the decision was taken with his family in mind, he’s also in Miami to continue enjoying football and compete.

“I came here with great enthusiasm, with the desire to keep on winning as I have done throughout my entire career. In the beginning I struggled with practice and games because I had been on vacation, but I already feel very comfortable”, Messi said.

Photo: Télam

The 36-year-old said that living in the United States had always been one of his goals. Mess and his family had visited Miami for holidays, a process that led him to understand “what the city was about.”

“Adapting to the city has been very easy because we were sure this is what we wanted and the people have made everything easier,” said Messi, who took aim at his previous destination, where he experienced a bit of a rocky stay. “Leaving Barcelona for Paris was complicated, but this is totally different. Miami is a city with many latinos, and they’re more affectionate, more demonstrative, and that is very important.”

Speaking of the newly-found competitiveness of Inter Miami, who currently sits at the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference but remains unbeaten since Messi joined, the Argentine lauded the role of countryman coach Gerardo Martino in the team’s development. “We are about to play a final and that may come as a surprise, but that’s the objective: to compete  and win titles.”

“To win a championship for all the people of the club would be incredible. We are looking to be the leading team in the league,” said the former Barcelona FC star. “Seeing how Inter fans follow and support us is very nice. It is a very young club, and it’s close to getting its first title.”

Messi also spoke of his place in the race to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or, the prestigious award given by French football magazine France Football that crowns the best player of the year. Messi, who has already won the award seven times, is one of the leading candidates following his performances in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, which, due to the fact it was played after the voting closed, did not enter into consideration for the 2022 award. However, the Argentine doesn’t seem too concerned about the outcome.

“It is a very important award because of the recognition it gives you,” Messi said, while also highlighting he has always preferred team achievements over individual ones. “After winning the World Cup, I don’t think much about the Ballon d’Or. The World Cup was what I wanted,” Messi said.

Messi and Inter Miami will be playing the final of the Leagues Cup against Nashville SC on Saturday, August 19 at Geodis Park, Nashville, 8:00 p.m. local time, 10:00 p.m. Argentine time.


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