Messi to undergo tests on fitness issues: will he be fit to play for Inter Miami in the US Open Cup final?
The former Barcelona star was forced off against Toronto FC, just days before The Herons’ cup final against Houston Dynamo.
Lionel Messi’s fitness has suddenly became a significant cause for concern for Inter Miami. The former Barcelona playmaker was forced off in the first half of Wednesday’s victory over Toronto FC and must now be considered a doubt for The Herons’ upcoming matches, one of which is the US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo on Wednesday 27 September.
Messi: muscle fatigue or something more sinister?
The 36-year-old’s issues began on international duty with Argentina, for whom he didn’t feature versus Bolivia in La Paz on 12 September. His absence was put down to “muscle fatigue” and Inter Miami opted not to field him in the defeat to Atlanta United on 16 September as a precaution.
However, Messi was forced to come off after 37 minutes against Toronto on Wednesday, leading to fears that there could be something more serious going on. Although head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino has reiterated that his star man is not carrying an injury, The Herons have taken steps to get to the bottom of the matter.
Inter Miami superstar to undergo tests on Friday
According to Argentinian media outfit Télam, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will undergo a series of tests on Friday to find out the severity of his fitness issues, which have prevented him from playing as normal for the last couple of weeks.
One theory, among optimists, is that Messi was aware that he wasn’t quite right in the first half against The Reds and asked to be taken offer to avoid worsening the situation, offering hope he will be back at 100% for the cup final against Houston, only a matter of days away.
Messi’s race against time to be fit for US Open Cup final
The tests carried out on Messi on Friday should give us a reasonable indication of his recovery time, although, as Martino has admitted, it seems very unlikely he will be available to face Orlando City on Sunday. In any case, the main target for Inter Miami is to have their talisman ready for the US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo, when they will go in search of a second trophy in a matter of weeks following their Leagues Cup win.