Tata Martino provides Lionel Messi fitness update following Inter Miami’s clash against Vissel Kobe


Lionel Messi came on for Inter Miami’s penalty shootout defeat against Vissel Kobe as a second-half subsitute. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner has been struggling with an injury in the MLS side’s pre-season.

Messi missed Inter Miami’s match against Hong Kong XI, which was not well received by the local fans. The Herons did bring Messi on in their last match on Wednesday, February 7, for 30 minutes.

Speaking about Messi’s fitness, Inter Miami boss Tata Martino said:

“After yesterday’s training session, Leo told me he felt good and we made the decision to put him in for 30 minutes. He was happy after the game because he said he felt comfortable there.”

Messi failed to provide an assist or score a goal as Inter Miami lost the game on a shootout. The Herons continued their poor pre-season with yet another defeat and have just one win to show from their six warmup games so far.

Speaking after the game, Martino added:

“I think it was an even game, they played better in the first half, they had opportunities to score and we improved as the game progressed in the second half.”

Lionel Messi’s journey with MLS side Inter Miami

Inter Miami’s Major League Soccer campaign will begin on February 21 with a clash against Real Salt Lake. Messi made quite an impact in American football last season after joining them in the summer of 2023.

He played 14 games for the Herons, registering 11 goals and providing five assists. Messi helped Inter Miami win their first ever silverware in the form of the Leagues Cup.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner had a fantastic 2023, winning the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year award for his exploits.

Inter Miami will play Messi’s old club Newell’s Old Boys (from Argentina) as their final warmup game before returning to the US.

Edited by Samya Majumdar

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