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Messi is not in the Inter Miami squad due to the defeat against Atlanta

ESPN News ServicesSeptember 16, 2023, 07:22 pm ET3 minute read

Melchiot: Messi is still hungry to win in MLS

Mario Melchiot explains why Lionel Messi still seems hungry for success in MLS.

Lionel Messi did not appear for InterMiami in Saturday’s 5-2 loss at atlanta united in front of 71,635 spectators at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium after failing to be named in the team’s starting eleven or on the substitutes’ bench.

A fountain he told ESPN Argentina on Friday that Messi did not travel with his Miami teammates to the game.

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Messi left unusually Argentina‘s World Cup qualifying victory last week Ecuador before the final whistle, and although he traveled on Wednesday to boliviaHe was not included in coach Lionel Scaloni’s 23-man list for the 3-0 victory in La Paz.

Miami coach Gerardo Martino said early Friday that Messi is “fine” but that he wanted to wait until after the final practice before the game to make a decision on the star’s availability against Atlanta.

“We will be careful with him because we have many important games in a short time,” Martino said.

Miami’s schedule was full before the international break, and it has a quick turnaround ahead of Wednesday’s home game with Toronto F.C.. Messi will also have more World Cup qualifiers to face in October, with the CONMEBOL qualifiers against him. Paraguay (October 12) and Peru (October the 17th).

Miami’s games at that time would be against. Charlotte F.C.: at home on October 18 and at North Carolina on October 21 to close the regular season.

“This is something that we knew was going to happen at some point, but that he would begin to get used to our needs, especially in seasons like this with many games,” Martino said about the possibility of giving Messi more rest due to his schedule.

“Playing each game, 90 minutes each game, two or three days with trips in between, would be difficult.”

Messi trained with the team on Thursday and Friday, and although Atlanta plays on grass, the 36-year-old said in his only press conference last month that he played on grass when he was young and would have no problem doing so again.

“The truth is that I spent my youth on artificial grass, my whole life was spent on that field,” he said. “I haven’t played on artificial grass for a while, but I have no problems getting used to it again.”

Turf has been a hot topic this week after many blamed the surface for the future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. Aaron Rodgers‘He tore his Achilles tendon in his first game with the New York Jets.

Atlanta was one of the two MLS teams remaining on Inter Miami’s remaining visiting schedule that play on grass. Charlotte is the other, and Miami won’t play there until the final game of the regular season, by which time Miami could have already clinched a playoff spot.

If it makes the playoffs, Miami could very well face a trip to another Eastern Conference club that has grass: the New England Revolution. Despite their recent managerial problems, the Revs are currently second in the standings.

Information from ESPN’s Ross Devonport was used in this report.

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