Inter Miami star Lionel Messi to miss MLS game against Chicago Fire but return plan revealed
The Herons face both The Fire and FC Cincinnati this week, while Argentina will want their captain for two 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
Inter Miami have struggled in recent weeks without injured superstar Lionel Messi, losing the US Open Cup final to Houston Dynamo amid a dip in form in MLS which has their MLS Cup playoff hopes hanging in the balance. To make matters worse, journalist Gastón Edul of Argentine media outlet TyC Sports has reported that Messi won’t play in Wednesday’s league game away to Chicago Fire. He has, however, also revealed the Florida club’s plan to welcome the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner back into the team.
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Inter Miami pencil in Cincinnati return for Messi
“Leo Messi won’t play against Chicago Fire. Saturday 7 (October) is the last match before the Argentina national team matches (Inter Miami - Cincinnati). They (Inter Miami) are aiming for him to have some game time in that match”, the journalist posted on social media.
After yesterday’s last-gasp draw against NYCFC, Herons head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino stated: “We didn’t take any risks with him in the cup final, so there’s even less of a need to do so now. He might be ready to play against Chicago, he might be on the bench or if we think there’s still a risk and he has to be left out, he will be left out. It will be the same against FC Cincinnati (on Saturday 7 October). He is back in training, away from the rest of the group, but he feels better and better.”
Miami and Messi’s busy fixture schedule
The next week will be crucial for Inter Miami’s bid to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs, with Chicago Fire a direct rival in the race to finish in the top nine and Cincinnati already crowned winners of the Supporters’ Shield. After the second of those two games, to be played on Saturday, The Herons don’t have a game for 11 days due to an international break.
Under normal circumstances, World Cup-winning captain Messi would be called up by Argentina, who face Paraguay at Estadio Más Monumental in Buenos Aires on 12 October before taking on Peru at Estadio Nacional in Lima on 17 October. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen.