- Messi was substituted early in last week’s 4-0 win over Toronto due to injury
- Jordi Alba, who also had to leave the field injured, was also absent from training
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Lionel Messi will not start for Inter Miami in the US Open Cup final after missing training on Tuesday due to his ongoing battle with injuries, reports say.
Messi is in a race against time to be fit for Wednesday’s final after being substituted with muscle pain eight minutes before half-time in last week’s 4-0 MLS win over Toronto FC.
Both he and Jordi Alba – who is also nursing a muscle problem – were taken off the pitch on the evening before being left out in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Orlando City.
Miami boss Tata Martino admitted the pair would be regularly assessed in the days leading up to the finals, and TyC Sports (via MLS moves) now reports that Messi will not be involved from the start.
Messi and Alba did not take part in training at the DRV PNK Stadium on Tuesday, with the two former Barcelona stars not seen on the pitch with their teammates.
Lionel Messi will not start for Inter Miami in the US Open Cup final after missing training
Messi is a major injury doubt for Wednesday’s final after being substituted eight minutes before half-time in last week’s 4-0 MLS win over Toronto FC
As a result, he did not participate in Miami’s final practice ahead of the finals on Tuesday
Messi was instead seen on the phone in normal clothes at Inter’s DRV PNK Stadium base
Messi was instead captured by ESPN cameras taking a phone call while wearing normal clothes as the squad conducted their final session.
It remains to be seen whether Martino decides to bring him off the bench during the match or simply not use him at all.
But given his stellar start in the United States, where he scored 11 goals in 12 games, betting on Messi’s fitness could be a risk worth taking.
Ahead of the draw in Orlando, Martino said: ‘Neither Alba nor he (Messi) will be considered for Sunday. I haven’t spoken to Leo since the match, but it seems to me that his experience gives him the ability, even within a match, to know when to stop, when to say enough and when to take precautions.
‘And it seems very sensible to me that he uses it more than ever at this point in his career, because we want to see Leo on the fields much more often and I have to help him.
‘For me it is good that he becomes aware that there are times when we have to stop.
Alba, who was also substituted against Toronto due to an injury, was again absent from training on Tuesday
Miami boss Tata Martino is sweating about the fitness of both men on the eve of the cup final
“The annoying scar, I don’t know if it hurts, maybe it’s something much more medical.”
If he is fit in time, Messi will have the chance to win his second trophy with Miami, just over two months after joining the club.
He first inspired their Leagues Cup triumph last month, getting on the scoresheet in their final victory over Nashville, having also delivered a crucial equalizer in the semi-final.
Miami also has a slim chance of making a late run into the MLS play-offs this season after three of their main rivals suffered defeats on Saturday.