Lionel Messi returned on Friday but his participation in Inter Miami’s Major League Soccer game against New York City on Saturday remains up in the air.
The Argentina international missed Miami’s last two games – including the U.S. Open Cup final defeat to Houston Dynamo – with what Tata Martino had earlier described as “fatigue”.
He had been substituted off in the 37th minute of the previous game, against Toronto FC, on September 20.
Manager Martino revealed on Wednesday that it was “clearly not prudent” for Messi to play against Houston and adding to do so would have been too much of a “risk.”
The medical team have continued to assess Messi’s fitness and he returned to training with team-mates on Friday.
Jordi Alba, however, is still missing with an injury of his own.
“Leo will train today, day to day decision,” assistant coach Javi Morales said earlier on Friday. “Jordi has a hamstring injury, will not play tomorrow, longer recovery.”
Messi played 600 minutes in August, exceeding any calendar month in minutes played since he left Barcelona in 2019.
Martino had said that his star player “will surely play again before the end of the season” as they look to sneak into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Miami was in last place in the league when Messi arrived and now sits in 14th place out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, five points out of a playoff spot, albeit with games in hand on most of the teams ahead of them in the standings.
Following Saturday’s game Miami then travels to Chicago on October 4 and hosts FC Cincinnati on October 7 before the international break.
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(Photo: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)