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Will Messi play in the US Open Cup final? This is probably the question on the lips of every single Inter Miami fan after watching their majestic captain forcibly taken off in the 37th minute in their 4-0 MLS win over Toronto FC on Wednesday evening.
The Argentine forward was dealt an injury blow during the September international break window. It’s possible that he triggered that issue and could not continue for the entire first half. With Inter Miami set to play in the US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo next week, the burning question over his availability is the talk of the town.
Will Messi Play in the US Open Cup Final?
- 1 Will Messi Play in the US Open Cup Final?
- 2 The last five times Messi was substituted before half-time
- 3 Should Inter Miami fans fear the worst?
What Inter Miami coach said about Messi’s situation
Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino didn’t really deliver the most optimistic update on the World Cup winner’s availability for the US Open Cup final. He straight up admitted that Messi will not be able to feature in his side’s next MLS match because of the injury.
Martino (pictured below) then stated that his side’s medical team needs to evaluate the 34-year-old’s situation before learning his capability of returning in time for the huge final. However, the Miami coach made it clear that there is no way that Messi will be forced to play in the game with an injury. He will only be able to start if able to fully recover and if he proves himself fit for the clash.
The last five times Messi was substituted before half-time
Even though it may seem that Messi never gets substituted in matches, he has actually been forced to be taken off quite a few times in the past. In fact, he’s been substituted before the 45th-minute mark on ten occasions across his devoted career. Here are the five most recent occasions that the Argentine ace has been hooked prior to the break.
Barcelona vs Sevilla (October 20, 2018)
The last time when Messi had to go off before the half-time in a professional game was when he was still playing for Barcelona. It happened in a La Liga game against Sevilla in 2018, which they won by a 4-2 margin. Messi suffered a nasty challenge and ended up fracturing his arm. He had to be taken off around the 25th-minute mark and missed the next five games for his side due to the injury.
Barcelona vs Las Palmas (September 28, 2015)
Messi had to be substituted in the 9th minute in Barcelona’s La Liga game against Las Palmas in the early part of the 2015/16 season. He sustained a knee injury early on in the game, forcing him to be taken off. This is also the earliest he’s ever been substituted in a match he’s started in his career. Messi missed 13 games for club and country because of the knock.
Real Betis vs Barcelona (November 10, 2013)
The Argentine forward sustained an unfortunate leg injury in Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Real Betis in a La Liga game in the 2013/14 season. He had to be taken off at the 25th minute and would miss nearly three months of action due to the knock.
Almeria vs Barcelona (September 28, 2013)
Before that leg injury, Messi had also sustained another injury at the start of the 13/14 campaign. He sustained a hamstring injury in Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Almeria. Despite scoring the opener, he got taken off at the 28-minute mark and missed four games.
Barcelona vs Celtic (March 4, 2008)
The Argentine forward sustained an unfortunate knee injury in Barcelona’s Champions League game against Celtic in the 2007/08 season. He had to be taken off in the 38th minute after sustaining a hamstring injury.
Should Inter Miami fans fear the worst?
After discovering the pattern of how much time it normally takes for Messi to recover from injuries that force him to be substituted early in matches, Inter Miami fans can’t be blamed for fearing the worst. However, Messi is the ultimate fighter and knowing his love for Miami, he’ll give it his best to make it to the US Open Cup final.
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