Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba injured and ruled out of Inter Miami game

Ross DevonportSep 20, 2023, 08:38 pm ETread 3 minutes

Lionel Messi was substituted with a leg injury in the 37th minute of Inter Miami CF’s game against Toronto FC on Wednesday, minutes after his former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba also left the field.

Messi and Alba, who started the game after not traveling in Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at Atlanta United FC, were not involved in any particularly heavy challenges or visibly limping, but were clearly Apparently he was in some kind of physical trouble.

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After both players left the field, they went straight to the bench instead of the locker room, and Miami scored a goal to take a 1–0 lead at halftime.

Messi looked lively early on and had a golden chance in the 23rd minute when his far-post volley from close range went over the bar from a superbly floated Facundo Farias ball. However, after 15 minutes, it became clear that the Argentine was in labor due to a physical problem, and he was replaced by Robert Taylor.

Alba had left four minutes earlier. Toronto also made two substitutions before Alba and Messi left the game, with another former Barcelona youth player – Victor Vasquez – being subbed off in the 12th minute. His replacement Brandon Servania was helped off with an apparent knee injury after only 14 minutes.

Lionel Messi leaves the field during the first half of Miami’s game against Toronto in MLS.USA Today Images

In the 37th minute, just minutes after Alba, Messi was sent off after spending a few minutes struggling with a foot problem. He was stretching during the game, then eventually he took off his captain’s armband and simply waited for the game to stop so he could leave – walking off the field before taking off his cleats, pulling down his socks and removing his shin guards. Didn’t even wait.

Messi had missed his last two matches in recent days – one for club, the other for country – after Argentina’s World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia on September 12 and the defeat to Atalanta on Saturday.

Fatigue was cited in both cases and Messi was not made available for comment.

Wednesday’s match was the first of six for Inter Miami in a 17-day period. The team next plays Orlando City SC on Sunday, then hosts Houston Dynamo FC in the US Open Cup final on September 27. This was followed by three more MLS matches in short order: against New York City FC on September 30. , at Chicago Fire FC on October 4, and will host FC Cincinnati on October 7.

Miami entered Wednesday seven points behind D.C. United for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two games remaining.

Messi appeared in 11 matches for Miami on Wednesday, the majority of which came in League Cup and US Open Cup competitions. He had 11 goals and five assists in those first 11 appearances, including one goal with two assists in three MLS matches.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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