Lionel Messi Will Return Soon For Inter Miami, Says Coach Tata Martino
After missing the better part of Inter Miami’s last three matches, including the U.S. Open Final Wednesday, Lionel Messi is said to be returning from injury soon. Inter Miami coach Tata Martino confirmed that the international star will try to come back in a last-gasp effort to get the club into the MLS Playoffs.
“It was not prudent for him to play, not even to consider him for a few minutes because we would have run risks,” Martino noted after the U.S. Open Final, a losing 2-1 effort against the Houston Dynamo. “We will go match by match defining the situation to see at what point the medical department tells us that he is fit to play without taking risks.”
The circumstances surrounding Messi’s injury are somewhat vague, with some citing a scar tissue problem with his leg and others reporting fatigue. He removed himself from a league game against Toronto F.C. on September 20 and has not appeared with the squad since. They have won and drawn their two league matches since and suffered their first loss in the U.S. Open, which does not count toward MLS standings.
With five games remaining in the 2023 season, Inter Miami still has the same slim postseason chance it has had since Messi arrived over the summer. The gap has closed somewhat, however. Not only has the team won or drawn six of its last seven league matches, but several teams ahead of them have also stalled. Inter Miami is now just five points out of ninth place, currently held by New York City F.C. Each victory in the MLS earns three points while draws earn one.
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Before Messi arrived in Miami, the team was at the very bottom of the Eastern Conference and has only begun to climb toward a postseason berth because of the efforts of the Argentinian and his longtime FC Barcelona teammates, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. The sooner he can return from his most recent setback, the better their chances become.
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