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Lionel Messi injury scare in Brazil clash

The Inter Miami forward was substituted towards the end of Argentina’s World Cup qualifying victory.

What is Lionel Messi's injury?

Lionel Messi was substituted in the 78th minute of Argentina’s 1-0 win over Brazil on Tuesday night, later confirming that he was suffering from a muscular injury.

The 36-year-old captained the World Cup winners in a fractious game at the Maracana. Argentina secured a hard-fought victory but Messi was largely anonymous for much of the game and was substituted towards the end.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Messi confirmed that he was struggling with a groin injury.

I felt discomfort in my adductor,” he said. “It was my last game of the year so I have time to get well to start 2024 giving everything.”

Lionel Messi was replaced by Angel Di Maria with the game far from settled.
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Lionel Messi was replaced by Angel Di Maria with the game far from settled.CARL DE SOUZAAFP

How did Messi get injured?

The game between Brazil and Argentina was delayed by nearly half an hour after violent clashes between visiting supporters and local police in the stands.

The issues began during the national anthems, just before the designated kick-off time. Messi took his team back to the locker rooms until the situation cooled, but players were only given a few minutes to warm up again after returning to the field.

That disruption appeared to have an impact on Messi, who suffered with muscular injuries during the final weeks of the MLS regular season. In the first half on Tuesday he went over to the Argentina bench to receive medical attention on multiple occasions.

After the game Messi said the the delay could have contributed to the soreness in his groin.

“It didn’t help me to cool down and go inside the locker room and then come back,” he admitted.

At this stage it does not appear that Messi’s injury is serious, more likely the consequence of a busy 12 months and some pre-game disruption on Tuesday. He has some time to recover now; Inter Miami are not expected to return for pre-season training until the second week of January.