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Will Messi play for Inter Miami in next match against NYCFC?

Inter Miami welcome New York City FC to Florida for an MLS match-up that will be pivotal to the Herons’ playoff hopes. Will Lionel Messi be fit to return?

Messi ya entrena con Inter Miami

After losing the US Open Cup final to the Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami turned their attentions back to MLS on Thursday, as the Herons began their training-ground preparations for a weekend clash that will be crucial to their aspirations of sneaking into the postseason playoffs.

Inter Miami face key NYCFC meeting

On Saturday, Miami host New York City FC - a team who are direct Eastern Conference rivals for postseason qualification. The men from the Big Apple, who sit five points ahead of Miami but have played two more games, currently occupy the ninth and final playoff spot in the East.

Messi injury the centre of attention

Ahead of NYCFC’s visit to DRV PNK Stadium, all eyes are on the fitness of Miami star man Lionel Messi, who hasn’t appeared for the Floridians since being forced off in the first half of the 4-0 MLS win over Toronto FC a week ago.

As Messi recovers from a scar-tissue problem relating to a previous hamstring injury, the 36-year-old had to watch on from the stands as Miami went down 2-1 to Houston on Wednesday, missing out on the chance to lift the US Open Cup for the first time in franchise history. He was also sidelined for last weekend’s 1-1 MLS draw with Florida rivals Orlando City.

Messi (centre) watches from the stands as Inter Miami lose the US Open Cup final to the Houston Dynamo.
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Messi (centre) watches from the stands as Inter Miami lose the US Open Cup final to the Houston Dynamo.HECTOR VIVASAFP

Will Miami bring Messi back for NYCFC?

Miami have been at pains to give Messi the rest he needs to get over his fitness issues - and all the indications are that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will remain absent from the line-up against NYCFC.

According to the well-connected TyC Sports reporter Gastón Edul, Miami are reluctant to risk Messi aggravating his injury issue on Saturday and, in the process, potentially ruling himself out for the rest of the season.

Argentina exertions a factor too

Messi and Miami’s cautious management of the veteran’s body is also influenced by the fact that, on top of his club commitments, the Argentina captain also has to get through two demanding international fixtures next month.

The Argentines are due to continue their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with games at home to Paraguay and away to Peru on 12 and 17 October, respectively.

Inter Miami vs NYCFC: key match info

Inter Miami host New York City FC at DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, on Saturday 30 September, with kick-off at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT.

You’ll be able to watch the match-up on AppleTV's MLS Season Pass.

MLS fans also have the option of following AS USA’s live-text commentary of the game in Florida. Will Gittins will be building up from about an hour ahead of kick-off, before talking you through all the action.

Video - Inter Miami boss on Messi’s US Open Cup final absence:

Will Messi play for Inter Miami in next match against NYCFC?