The Argentina FA have confirmed that their training base, the Ezeiza Housing Complex, will now be named after Lionel Messi.
Previously named after former FA president Julio Humberto Grondona, the complex hosted a ceremony on Saturday to comemorate Messi in front of a selection of his previous teammates.
“Welcome to the house of the world champion,” FA president Chiqui Tapia told the crowd. “Welcome to the house of all our National Teams, the house that gave identity to Argentine soccer around the world.
“Today is a very special day for our house, I think one of the most important in terms of management. In 2017 we had to start to re-found Argentine football, and within what we had to re-found was building management, and we found ourselves with this building that was not closed, with unfinished projects. Today we know what it is for, we started with the internal enclosure, external structures…, without a doubt it will become the new home of our National Teams.
“This building will have three hotel floors for our National Teams; it will have a training and high-performance centre with medical equipment; it will also have amenities, wet and dry recovery rooms, an auditorium for 360 people. It is propitious that today we all share together the uncovering of the foundation stone of this building and this property.
“Some leaders said that we did it late, but I think not, like the moment we recognised our house in Viamonte as ‘Diego Armando Maradona’. Today is not only the inauguration of this project, but also that of this Sports Housing Complex in Ezeiza that from today will carry a new name: ‘Lionel Andres Messi’.”
Messi later took to the stage to thank those in attendance for the tribute.
“Thank you all very much for being here,” he began. “I am grateful to Chiqui for this recognition, it is very important to me.
“I have been coming to this property for 20 years and since I entered I felt a very special energy. Until today, every time I enter, I feel a very particular energy in this property. I have had hard times, but even in those moments, entering here meant forgetting everything, it was arriving and feeling happiness for being in this place, the same thing I still feel.
“I feel very I am happy that after so long this is going to bear my name. I am one of the people who think that tributes have to be made in life, and I think this is a very special recognition for all that this property means, for the amount of players who pass by. Passing by here and knowing that it will bear my name is something very nice.”