“I think it’s vital for fans, teams and media to know” – Former USMNT Star Issues Lionel Messi Transparency Warning To MLS & Inter Miami

Lionel Messi Is MLS' Best Forward Right Now
Lionel Messi Is MLS' Best Forward Right Now

Former United States Men’s National Team star Alexi Lalas has urged Major League Soccer (MLS) & Inter Miami to be more transparent regarding Lionel Messi’s availability.

Fans were disappointed when Messi did not make the trip to Atlanta for Inter Miami’s clash with Atlanta United on Saturday night (September 16). Without their talisman, who missed the trip due to muscular fatigue following the international break, the hapless Herons succumbed to a 5-2 defeat in the MLS clash.

Lalas Wants MLS & Inter Miami To Be ‘Open’ About Lionel Messi’s Availability

With fans splurging hundreds of dollars to secure tickets and watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner in action, Lalas believes they should be informed whenever Messi fails to feature due to an injury. Hitting back at MLS commissioner Don Garber, who said he could not “force any team or player to do what was not in the best interest”, Lalas said on State of the Union Podcast (via GOAL):

That is a little bit disingenuous, that is a bit simplistic and that is a little bit naive when it comes to Major League Soccer and what Don Garber, as the commissioner, has done with Messi. 

They have used Messi since the moment it was announced to sell and to hype absolutely everything both on and off the field. I think that, whether it’s Inter Miami or MLS, if they have information and he is not going to play, they need to make it very clear.

He concluded by adding:

Especially before using Messi for all this soccer promotion. I think it’s important and I think it’s vital for fans, teams and media to know. It is the clubs responsibility to do everything to inform but also from a competitive standpoint, Inter Miami have to do everything to make the playoffs. Be open and be honest with everybody.”

Messi Not Certain To Feature Against Toronto FC

Inter Miami will return to MLS action with a clash against Toronto FC on Wednesday night (September 20), and as per coach Gerardo Martino, Messi’s involvement is far from guaranteed.

When asked about the 36-year-old’s availability, Martino said (via USA Today):

Messi and Alba will train in the full session today with the team, and after that we’ll see if they’re available to play and to what extent.”

Messi has been on fire for Vice City so far, scoring a staggering 11 times and claiming five assists in 11 appearances across competitions. Given how important he is to Miami’s silverware hopes, Martino is unlikely to rush him back and risk a more severe setback.

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