Argentina FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: How Long Will Inter Miami Be Without Lionel Messi?

Lionel Messi Joined MLS Side Inter Miami In July
Lionel Messi Joined MLS Side Inter Miami In July

Inter Miami’s fortunes have turned for the better since signing Lionel Messi on July 15. With the Argentina icon firing from the front, they have gone a whopping 11 games without defeat across competitions, snatching the Leagues Cup trophy and securing the U.S. Open Cup final slot along the way. Now, for the first time in over one-and-a-half months, Inter Miami will have to play without their effervescent, ever-reliable skipper.

Lionel Messi Included in Argentina’s 2026 World Cup Qualifiers Squad

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has included his captain Lionel Messi in the squad for La Albiceleste’s upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying clashes against Ecuador and Bolivia. Given how eager the 36-year-old generally is to represent his country, it would not be surprising if he starts both matches. The 2022 FIFA World Cup winners will first take on Ecuador on Thursday (September 7) before traveling to Bolivia for their second qualifier next week, on September 12.

How Many Matches Will Messi Miss For Inter Miami?

Of course, international duty means that Messi will be unavailable for Inter Miami for around 10 days, which could hurt their chances of making it into the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Barcelona icon will undoubtedly miss Inter Miami‘s upcoming MLS clash with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday (September 9). If the Vice City fail to cope without their No. 10, GOAL believes Messi could be rushed back for the game against Atlanta United on September 16. This can only happen if Messi is completely fit to play for Miami just a couple of days after representing his country.

Miami coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has given his thoughts about Messi’s absence, stating that his team will do their best to put on a respectable show against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. He said:

We will try to put together the best performance possible against Kansas City. We’ll also hope that the players leaving come back healthy and well so that we can continue this stretch.”

Inter Miami, who picked up an encouraging 3-1 victory over Los Angeles FC (LAFC) in their previous MLS outing on Sunday night (September 3), are currently 14th in the Eastern Conference rankings. They are eight points behind ninth-placed DC United, who currently occupy the last play-off spot.

Messi has been Miami’s best player since he joined the club as a free agent in July. The former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) attacker has featured in 11 matches for the club in all competitions, scoring 11 times. His creative side has also come to the fore multiple times, with him also pitching in with five assists across competitions.

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