The Argentina national team’s training facility has been renamed after talismanic captain Lionel Messi in recognition of his World Cup heroics and star-studded career, the country’s football association (AFA) said on Saturday.
The Casa de Ezeiza in Buenos Aires, which houses the national team set-up, will now be known as Lionel Andres Messi “in tribute to the best player in the world”, AFA president Claudio Tapia wrote on Twitter.
“Welcome to the world champion’s house,” Tapia said at the unveiling ceremony attended by current and former Argentina players.
Messi ended Argentina’s 36-year wait for the World Cup, emulating the late Diego Maradona when he led them to victory against France in a pulsating final in Qatar in December.
“I feel very happy. This tribute is very, very special,” Messi, 35, said after unveiling the plaque bearing his name. “Knowing it will be named Lionel Andres Messi is something very beautiful.”
The World Cup had been the one piece of silverware missing from Messi’s extraordinary career, during which he has been voted the world’s best player a record seven times and won the Copa America, 11 league titles and four Champions League titles among other major honours.
Messi scored his 800th career goal in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Panama in a friendly in Buenos Aires – Argentina’s first game in front of their home fans since the World Cup triumph.
He will lead Argentina in a friendly against Curacao on Tuesday before returning to club duty with Paris St Germain.