Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Inter Miami coach: Lionel Messi 'isn't able to play freely'

Field Level Media
23 Sep 2023, 05:05 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports)

Inter Miami coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino confirmed Friday that star forward Lionel Messi will miss Sunday's match at Orlando City as he deals with a scar tissue issue from an injury with the Argentina national team.

Messi, 36, and defender Jordi Alba did not practice Friday after they both exited in the first half of Wednesday's 4-0 win over visiting Toronto FC due to what Martino called muscle fatigue.

"It's bothersome," Martino said Friday about Messi's scar issue. "I don't know if it hurts. I can't really explain as it's more a medical topic.

"It's probable it bothers him to the point, including mentally, that he isn't able to play freely."

Martino was not sure of the two players' availability for Inter Miami's match against the Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup final on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The club already captured the Leagues Cup since Messi and others joined the roster.

Miami is 8-0-4 in all competitions with Messi in the lineup, including 3-0-1 in MLS regular-season matches and now sports a 9-15-4 mark with 31 points. He has 11 goals and eight assists in all competitions (regular-season play, U.S. Open Cup, Leagues Cup).

Both Messi and Alba sat out Miami's MLS contest on Sept. 16 at Atlanta United and won't play Sunday. Midfielder Sergio Busquets also missed practice Friday, while midfielder Jean Mota returned to training after being sidelined since April with an LCL injury.

Another midfielder, Diego Gomez, has been unavailable because of a muscular injury.

--Field Level Media

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