Confetti cannons for Lionel Messi! Inter Miami star is ALREADY back in training as he's given hero's welcome by his excited team-mates after eighth Ballon d'Or win

  • Messi bagged his eighth Ballon d'Or
  • Flew straight back from Paris to re-join training
  • Received a huge welcome from his team-mates

WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine superstar was awarded his eighth Golden Ball in Paris on Monday night, which helped him move three clear of eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo. But the 2022 World Cup winner showed his exemplary professionalism as he immediately flew back across the Atlantic to join his club team-mates for training Tuesday morning. Messi was given a guard of honour by the Miami players, with confetti cannons fired off as he ran between the players. Later, he posed for a picture with the entire squad with a huge number 8 to commemorate his latest award. Inter Miami also posted on their social media channels, writing: "Bienvenido a casa, ganador" (Welcome home, winner) and "Ocho para nuestro 10" (Eight for our number 10).

THE BIGGER PICTURE: This is likely to be Messi's last Ballon d'Or win, with the Argentine, who turns 37 in June, unlikely to be challenging for the award in 2024. Indeed, barring Messi and Ronaldo, no other player has won the award more than three times - a record which is shared by Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten.

WHAT NEXT? Inter Miami were set to leave for China for an offseason tour but that might soon be officially cancelled due to potential "issues" with the promoter. However, the players continue to train in a bid to keep themselves fit and in case their season is extended, having missed out on the MLS play-offs.