Lionel Messi "practically ruled out" as Inter Miami visit DC United


Inter Miami CF have all but ruled out Lionel Messi for Saturday’s Matchday 5 visit to D.C. United as they await word on the superstar No. 10’s injury status (2 pm ET | Apple TV - Free).

Messi, who guided the Herons to the Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinals mid-week against Nashville SC, left Wednesday’s game with discomfort in his right leg.

Two days later, Miami assistant coach Javier Morales confirmed the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner’s match fitness currently isn't where it needs to be.

“As far as this weekend’s game is concerned, he’s practically ruled out,” Morales told reporters Friday. “We know he underwent tests yesterday.

"We’re still waiting for the doctor’s results to see in detail what he has and, based on those results, then he’ll see what happens with the national team.”

Rest of Big Four raring to go

Messi’s uncertainty aside, Miami should line up with head coach Gerardo Martino’s first-choice starting XI at Audi Field, where the Herons are looking to bounce back after last weekend’s 3-2 home loss to CF Montréal – their first defeat of 2024.

“Saturday’s game is important for us, so we’ll try to play with the best players available,” Morales said. “… If everyone is healthy, we’ll play with the best.”

Center back Tomás Áviles echoed his coach, already turning the page on the club’s mid-week CCC triumph that took them one step closer to their second-ever international trophy.

“We can’t ignore the league. These early points are important for the end of the year,” the U22 Initiative signing said. “And we know that with or without Leo, we have to keep playing the same way.”

On that note, Morales expects all available players – most certainly superstars Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba – to raise their level in the nation's capital.

“This happens a lot because Leo goes to the national team a lot and we have to adapt,” Morales said. “[Messi’s] impossible to replace, but we’ll try our best to have a great game on Saturday.”