Lionel Messi Injury Update: After Missing Hong Kong Friendly, Inter Miami Star Could Miss Vissel Kobe Game in Japan

Published 02/04/2024, 5:54 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

After falling short in four friendly matches, Inter Miami found their first pre-season win against Hong Kong XI. The Herons ousted the hosts 4-1 at the Hong Kong stadium. Miami landed such a landmark win, despite not starting their marquee signings, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba. While Busquets and Alba came off the bench in the second half, Messi and Suarez remained on the bench for the entirety of the game. 

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This was the second straight match for which Tata Martino did not start Messi. Martino allowed only a mere seven minutes of playing time for the Miami skipper in the Al Nassr match. Since he did not even get that luxury in the Hong Kong friendly, Messi’s availability for the next friendly against Japan’s Vissel Kobe is in jeopardy.

Lionel Messi misses Inter Miami’s first pre-season win; Vissel Kobe game in jeopardy

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During a prior press conference, Inter Miami boss Tata Martino said he expects Lionel Messi to play ‘as much as possible’ against Hong Kong XI. Besides, Messi trained with his teammates last night, in preparation for the Hong Kong friendly. However, when all was said and done, the effervescent Hong Kong crowd got a double blow. Leo Messi remained on the bench as a jam-packed stadium watched. Aggravating Hong Kong fans’ disappointment, the hosts suffered a grand loss against the guests.

via Reuters

Leo Messi’s injury woes took center stage in the Miami camp, as he felt discomfort after the match against Al Hilal. He started against the Saudi giants and played till the 87th minute. Messi’s discomfort perhaps stems from this relatively longer playing time. Meanwhile, rumors also hinted the player had a hamstring problem. Subsequently, Messi underwent an MRI and had his playing time reduced in the Al Nassr match. Since the Miami personnel is yet to communicate what is going on with their centerpiece, it is safe to assume they will rest him against Vissel Kobe, which is due in three days.

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Messi’s injury woes persist amid Inter Miami’s busy forthcoming schedule

After the friendly against Vissel Kobe in Japan, Messi and teammates will return to the US. The Herons won’t play another match for nine days after they get back to Fort Lauderdale. Thereafter, they will fly to Argentina to partake in what can be called an emotional reunion for Lionel Messi. Yes, the MLS side will face La Pulga’s boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in their last friendly of the pre-season. Anyhow, it is unsure if Messi will be available for these two matches.

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Last year, towards the end of Inter Miami’s campaign, the club benched La Pulga for several matches owing to fatigue. For a long time, they maintained silence on Messi’s injury. Given how things are panning out now, it is quite likely that last year’s unfortunate history is repeating. Anyhow, Miami kick-starts their MLS season on February 22, playing against Real Salt Lake. Considering the importance of that campaign, it won’t be a big surprise if the Herons nurse their centerpiece during the less important friendly matches.

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Written by:

Krishna Prasad M

740Articles

One take at a time

My journey as a sports aficionado was not colored by soccer initially. The 2006 FIFA World Cup, however, changed me, as I fell in love with the beautiful game. From cheering on Real Madrid to channeling an inner analyst with my pals during every other World Cup and kicking the ball timelessly, soccer is now a therapy for me with boundless conversations.
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Edited by:

Sreeda U M

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