In Lionel Messi’s absence, Inter Miami faced a 2-1 defeat in the US Open Cup final against Dynamo Houston on Wednesday evening. The World Cup winner had been left out of the lineup due to a muscle injury and later fatigue after he had to come off during their fixture against Toronto FC.
Messi was spotted watching the final from the stands, accompanied by his former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba, who was also sidelined due to injury. The 36-year-old guided his new team to their first-ever trophy, and had hopes of adding a second, but his plans were thwarted due to injury.
Lionel Messi misses US Open Cup final
Ever since his arrival on North American soil, Lionel Messi has consistently delivered performances for Inter Miami week in and week out. He signed a contract with the MLS side until 2025, after completing a two-season stint at Paris Saint-Germain, where his previous contract had expired.
Inter Miami hosted Houston Dynamo in the final of the US Open Cup in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Wednesday. Messi’s two assists in the semi-final against Cincinnati helped his team secure a spot in the final through a penalty shootout. However, an hour before kick-off, Messi was notably absent from the team list announced by the club.
In August, Messi captained Inter Miami to the club’s inaugural triumph in the 2023 League Cup. During the tournament, he scored 10 goals and provided 7 assists in 7 appearances. He made his debut as a substitute and then started all of their games in the competition.
He had picked up an injury during his recent international duty with the Argentina national team earlier this month in the World Cup qualification match against Ecuador. As a result, he missed the subsequent game against Bolivia, although he was present in the dugout.
It’s assumed that he hasn’t fully recovered from the previous injury, which is why he missed yesterday’s final. Inter Miami coach Tata Martino stated, that Messi will “absolutely play before the season is over,” following the loss in the final.
Messi is uncertain to take the field for Miami in their upcoming MLS match against New York City FC, as they are locked in a tight race for the final playoff spot with only a few games remaining.
Messi gets snubbed by Dutch great
The Dutch legendary striker Marco Van Basten was widely regarded as one of the best strikers of the 80s and 90s, accumulating a total of 277 goals and 82 assists during his club career in 373 appearances, while also earning 58 caps for the Netherlands national team.
Van Basten played for AC Milan and Ajax, winning the Champions League trophy twice with Milan and earning three Ballon d’Or awards during his career.
The Dutch legend named his top three players in history during an interview with France Football last year.
He said, “Pele, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff are, for me, the three greatest players in history,” when asked about his top three players.
He left Messi out of his top selections and explained, “Messi is also a magnificent player, but Maradona has always had more personality in a team. Messi is not the one who gets in front to go to war.”
At just 28, his playing career was abruptly curtailed by an ankle injury following a defeat in the 1993 Champions League final to Marseille. After retirement, Van Basten took managerial positions in the Netherlands, Ajax, and served at FIFA as a technical director.