Messi's injury more serious than assumed, has ‘no chance’ to play Inter Miami's next match, says coach

Sep 21, 2023 11:33 AM IST

Messi and Alba had to be substituted in the first half during Inter Miami’s MLS game against Toronto FC.

Lionel Messi had to be substituted in the 37th minute of Inter Miami’s Major League Soccer (MLS) fixture against Toronto FC today. It has been learnt that Messi was knocked out of the game due to muscle fatigue. The injury, however, had no bearing on Inter Miami’s performance as the Herons clinched a comfortable 4-0 win at the DRV PNK Stadium in Florida. Inter Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said that Messi will not be available for Inter Miami in the next MLS fixture against Orlando City on Sunday.

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) places the captain's armband on defender DeAndre Yedlin (2) during the first half(USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)
Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) places the captain's armband on defender DeAndre Yedlin (2) during the first half(USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba may also not take the field against Orlando City due to injury issues. Martino will desperately want his both Messi and Alba to be absolutely fit and ready for the US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo next Wednesday.

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"There is no chance they will be there on Sunday. I know we have a final to play [next Wednesday] but they won't go near the pitch if they can't play. They trained normally and we felt like they were ready to play. I don't believe it's anything new or anything worse than what they had before. It's fatigue. We don't think it's a muscular injury. That's also from a conversation that I just had with him. But we have to continue being careful and we'll look at him the next few days,” Martino told reporters.

Alba was seen with ice on his right hamstring after he came off the pitch ten minutes before halftime. Messi also faced a similar fate, leaving the field just two minutes later. “Messi and Jordi had to come out. It was two unexpected substitutions. We will evaluate them in these days,” the Inter Miami coach said at half-time, as per Daily Mail.

According to Daily Mail, it was reportedly just the eighth time that Lionel Messi had to be substituted before halftime. Moreover, it was his first substitution before halftime since October, 2018. Messi seemed quite promising in the early phase of the game against Houston Dynamo and the Argentine had a great chance to open the scoring in the 23rd minute. But just 14 minutes later, Messi had to be substituted.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was replaced by Robert Taylor who scored a brace and provided an assist to earn a resounding 4-0 win for Inter Miami. Facundo Farias and Benjamin Cremaschi were Inter Miami’s other two goal-scorers of the night.

Inter Miami are currently five points behind D.C. United who occupy the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference MLS standings. With two matches still to be played, Inter Miami will leave no stone unturned to earn a berth in the playoff.

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