Messi is unlikely to play another MLS game this season

Lionel Messi is unlikely to play in MLS again this season after Inter Miami missed out on the playoffs, Tata Martino has admitted.

Miami has nothing left to play for in 2023 after failing to qualify for the post-season playoffs, with a 1-0 defeat at home to Cincinnati earlier this month effectively bringing their campaign to an end.

Having battled back from injury to be fit for the game, Messi only made it off the bench for 35 minutes that night as his debut MLS season ended in disappointment.

The Argentina superstar had missed their previous four matches after picking up a muscle problem in last month’s 4-0 win at Toronto, including the US Open Cup final defeat by Houston Dynamo.

And with two regular-season MLS fixtures still to play, Miami coach Martino has suggested his captain will play no part in them to avoid any risks.

Messi will not be involved in Wednesday’s outing against Charlotte at DRV PNK Stadium after appearing and scoring twice in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Peru on Tuesday. Miami’s last game of the season then comes against the same opposition in North Carolina this Saturday.

Martino said: ‘We will evaluate not only Leo, but all players who are with their national teams when they return Thursday, as we are out of the playoffs, and we don’t want to run any risks.’

Despite their playoff heartbreak, it has been a positive season on the whole for Miami following Messi’s arrival, with the team going from MLS basement boys to playoffs hopefuls.



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