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MLS

Is Messi playing today for Inter Miami?

The Herons take on St Louis City on Saturday, looking to keep their place at the top of the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings ahead of Copa América.

Lionel Messi aims to sign off in style for Inter Miami
MEGAN BRIGGSAFP

Inter Miami will be hoping to make the most of their last game with Lionel Messi before the team captain heads off to the Copa América.

He missed last weekend’s trip to Vancouver Whitecaps but Messi returned to feature in the midweek loss to Atlanta United. The Argentine scored a nicely-taken goal from the edge of the box but could not prevent the Herons slipping to a 3-1 defeat at Chase Stadium, losing their ten-match unbeaten record.

Follow live: Inter Miami - St. Louis City SC

After Saturday’s game against St. Louis City, Lionel Messi will join up with the rest of his international teammates for this summer’s tournament in the United States. Messi trained with Inter Miami on Friday and he features from the start against St. Louis.

Inter Miami confirmed team: Drake Callender - Jordi Alba, Tomas Aviles, Sergii Kryvtsov, Marcelo Weigandt - Federico Redondo, Sergio Busquets, Mathis Rojas - Robert Taylor, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi

When will Messi be back from Copa América?

Argentina come into this summer’s international tournament as the favourites. They lifted the most recent edition of the Copa América, 2019, and followed that up with a historic World Cup triumph in 2022. This could well be Messi’s last major tournament in the famous blue and white of Argentina and he would sorely love to sign off with another trophy.

With that in mind, La Albiceleste are expected to go deep in this summer’s tournament. That means that Inter Miami could be without him for five weeks at a key part of the season. The final of the 2024 Copa América will take place on Saturday 15 July, by which time the Herons may have played five Messi-less matches. Here’s a look at the games that Messi may miss due to Copa América.

Inter Miami fixtures

  • Philadelphia Union (A) - 15 June
  • Columbus Crew (H) - 19 June
  • Nashville SC (A) - 29 June
  • Charlotte FC (A) - 3 July
  • FC Cincinnati (A) - 6 July
  • Toronto FC (H) - 17 July

Speaking about the prospect of missing Messi for another six matches, head coach Tata Martino said recently: “We are going to suffer during the Copa América, but we have to know how to suffer, Leo Campana’s goal will give him confidence. Players like him, and Robert Taylor will be fundamental in this period.”

Inter Miami go into Matchday 17 with a one-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference, narrowly ahead of 2023 Supporters’ Shield winners FC Cincinnati. The Herons have typically struggled to perform without Lionel Messi but Martino’s team can take some confidence from last weekend’s victory.

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