One Sporting Kansas City player once won a FIFA championship with Lionel Messi

When the greatest soccer player in the world arrives in Kansas City on Saturday, he’ll see at least one friendly face.

Sporting Kansas City will play Inter Miami FC on Saturday at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, marking Lionel Messi’s first appearance in Kansas City.

The Ballon d’Or Award is given annually to the best soccer player in the world, and Messi has received it a record eight times. Messi also has won every major tournament with his club and country during his career.

One of those championships came in 2011 when Barcelona thumped Brazilian side Santos 4-0 in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in Yokohama, Japan. Messi scored goals in the 17th and 82nd minutes.

Defender Andreu Fontàs came on as a second-half substitute for Barcelona that day. Fontàs now plays for Sporting Kansas City, and he’ll likely greet Messi warmly before Saturday’s match.

Fontàs was on the field for eight matches with Messi at Barcelona from 2009-’11, including in the Champions League and that FIFA Club World Cup final.

Here are highlights from that match.

Messi, who made 837 appearances for Barcelona from 2004-21, and Fontàs also faced off against one another in Spanish league and cup games.

When Fontàs was with Mallorca and Celta de Vigo, he played six matches against Messi from 2012-’18 in La Liga and Copa del Rey.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Nemanja Radoja also played against Messi in Spain.

Radoja previously was with Celta Vigo and Levante, and he was on the field for nine matches against Messi from 2014-’20 in La Liga and Copa del Rey.