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MLS

Will Lionel Messi be fit to play for Inter Miami in their next MLS game against Atlanta United?

The Argentina captain missed his country’s World Cup qualifying win against Bolivia because “he wasn’t feeling great”, according to coach Lionel Scaloni.

Update:
The Argentina captain missed his country’s World Cup qualifying win against Bolivia because “he wasn’t feeling great”, according to coach Lionel Scaloni.
SEAN M. HAFFEYAFP

Lionel Messi has played a lot of soccer since joining Inter Miami earlier this summer and it was Argentina who ultimately played the price, with their captain unable to take part in Tuesday’s 2026 World Cup qualifying win away to Bolivia. Will David Beckham’s side also be deprived of his services when they play their next MLS game at Atlanta United?

The former Barcelona superstar made his debut for The Herons on 21 July in the first game of their triumphant Leagues Cup campaign and has since made 10 further appearances for his new club. His participation in his country’s victory against Ecuador last Thursday meant he had played 12 matches in 48 days ahead of La Albiceleste’s trip to La Paz.

Is Messi carrying an injury?

Speculation had been rife about whether Messi would be forced to sit out the second of Argentina’s two matches after he had asked to come off following his match-winning strike versus the Ecuadorians. The 36-year-old underwent medical tests to determine whether or not he had suffered an injury, with the results suggesting he was suffering from muscle fatigue rather than anything more serious.

However, his fitness issues were enough to stop Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni from risking him against Bolivia, with Messi not even named amongst the substitutes. “He told me that he wasn’t feeling great and it didn’t make sense (for him to play). It would’ve been a difficult match to play in at high altitude. Risking him didn’t make any sense”, Scaloni reiterated.

Will the Inter Miami star play against Atlanta United?

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner didn’t train with the rest of his teammates in the run-up to the match in La Paz, which Argentina won 3-0 without him, and now faces a race against time to prove his fitness to play in Inter Miami’s next match, an MLS away game at Atlanta United on Saturday 16 September.

The good news for The Herons is that tests have already shown that their talisman isn’t carrying an injury, although Messi’s “muscle fatigue” could be a sign that they have to start utilising him in a different way. “I came off because I was tired. I’m sure it’s not going to be the last time it happens”, claimed the playmaker after scoring the winner against Ecuador.

How many minutes has Messi played since joining The Herons?

Messi has played 924 of a possible 1050 minutes for Inter Miami so far, including two 120-minute appearances against Nashville in the Leagues Cup final and FC Cincinnati in the US Open Cup. He hasn’t been ruled in or out of Saturday’s match in Georgia just yet, but perhaps we’re seeing the first signs of his body telling him, and The Herons, to slow down a little.