MLS | MESSI
Messi’s inner struggle: the clock is ticking for Inter Miami’s star
At a crucial time for Inter Miami, the Argentinian star has to decide whether to continue resting or risk playing through injury. His team’s hopes depend on his decision.
As the sands in the hourglass run perilously low for Inter Miami’s playoff ambitions, the weight of the decision looms large for Argentine virtuoso Lionel Messi: to risk or to wait. Lingering any further on his return could mean missing the boat altogether.
Following a hamstring niggle in the first half against Toronto F.C., Messi has been conspicuously absent in the next two games—a lacklustre draw in the MLS and a defeat that saw them lose the final of the US Open Cup. Training on his own, Messi continues focused on recovery, eager to rejoin his team who are in a situation where they can ill afford further mishaps.
Inside the managerial corridors and, more pressingly, in Messi’s own mind, the question simmers. At the age of 36, the Argentine maestro is no greenhorn, fully aware of his bodily constraints. Although manager Tata Martino hinted at Messi’s possible weekend return, it comes with a caveat—a likelihood of relapse.
In the chess game that is Messi’s recovery, waiting for a full return feels like the sensible move. But time is a luxury they may not have; any delay may see Messi re-enter a field with Inter Miami mathematically out of the playoffs.
The Rosario native’s absence is palpable in the squad’s performance. A player of Messi’s calibre can pivot the fortunes of a team desperately in need of its talisman. Yet, the relentless schedule is unforgiving; Messi could potentially miss three and a half matches in a mere ten-day span.
International duty with Argentina calls for Messi
Adding another layer to Messi’s quandary is his looming commitment to Argentina’s national team, scheduled to face Paraguay and Peru in South American Qualifiers in just over a week. These high-stakes encounters further fuel the tension surrounding Messi’s comeback.
A choice to prioritise the national squad could well instigate a conflict of interest with the club that cuts his cheque. In this intricate web, Messi must manoeuvre carefully, as the clock ticks unrelentingly for both his club and country.