Lionel Messi’s return to action with Inter Miami didn’t end well. Although his team secured a 4-0 win against Toronto FC 4-0, the Rosario-born star set off alarms when he asked to be subbed off in the first half.
Messi exited the game just 36 minutes into the first half after experiencing discomfort in his right hamstring. It wasn’t all bad news for Inter Miami, however, as his replacement, Finland’s Robert Taylor, scored two goals.
The former Barcelona star missed the last two games of his team while playing for Argentina’s men’s national football team in the start of the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.
Inter Miami had mixed luck without the World Cup-winner, beating Sporting KC 3-2 at home before falling 5-2 away at Atlanta United.
“If we made him play, it was because he was fit,” said Martino. “Then I saw him stretch, and I realized that it was over for the night.”
The injury couldn’t come at a worse time for Inter Miami. The Herons are set to face Houston Dynamo in the US Cup final on Wednesday 27.
“We will go day by day and see if he’s ready,” the Inter Miami coach said. “We’re definitely not going to risk him just because it’s the final.”
The Argentine star, who hadn’t left the pitch before halftime since playing for Barcelona in 2018 against Sevilla, will be tested in the coming days. The affected area is around a scar of an old strain he suffered years ago.Messi’s injury is also a worry for Argentina’s head coach Lionel Scaloni. The Albiceleste has its second set of fixtures in the South American Qualifiers coming up: first it will host Paraguay on October 12, and then visit Perú five days later.