When is Inter Miami’s next game? Will Lionel Messi be fit to play?
Following the MLS draw with NYCFC, Herons coach Tata Martino spoke about the fitness of the Argentina captain, who has missed three consecutive games.
Inter Miami snatched a late point in a 1-1 draw with New York City FC at DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday, after which Herons coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino was inevitably asked about the fitness of star man Lionel Messi. After being forced to sit out the US Open Cup final defeat to Houston Dynamo, the former Barcelona superstar was again missing from Martino’s squad against The Pigeons. When will we see him next in MLS action?
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Chicago Fire up next for Inter Miami
The very first question put to Martino in the post-match press conference was on rumours that the Argentina captain wouldn’t play for Inter Miami again until next season. “And if that report is not true, what would happen to the person who wrote that article? We’re taking things game by game, we’ll assess him before the match against Chicago (Fire),” was the ex-Mexico coach’s response.
The games continue to come thick and fast for the Florida side, with their clash against The Men in Red at Soldier Field to be played on Wednesday 4 October, with kick-off at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Messi “feels better and better”
“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.”
Will Messi play for Argentina in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers?
Martino was also asked about the possibility of Messi playing in Argentina’s FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers in October: “Leo will almost certainly have to report with them, they will talk to him and find out how his recovery is going. He’ll train on Monday and Tuesday and we’ll have to see how he is on Tuesday because that’s when he’ll travel.”
Martino: Inter Miami “won’t take any risks” with Messi or Alba
As well as Messi, the Argentine coach also lamented being without other key players as Inter Miami chase an MLS Cup Playoff place. “We won’t take any risks. If the player himself (Messi) and the medical staff feel playing him is a risk, he’ll be left out. I can’t tell you today whether he’ll play against Chicago or not. He’s doing much better in training every day, he was much better yesterday.
“I’m aware of what we need to do. I’m sure nobody wants Leo to be fit more than I do, Jordi (Alba) and Diego (Goméz) too, but unfortunately they’re not available at the most important point of the season. We won’t take any risks,” Martino concluded.
MLS - Liga USA 2023
*Data updated to date Oct 1st, 2023