The former FC Barcelona star is reportedly dealing with a scar tissue problem that began while he was playing with the Argentina national team earlier this month. Both he and teammate Jordi Alba missed training Friday after exiting early in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Toronto FC.
“Basically, Leo is still dealing with his old scar tissue, and Jordi with muscle pain,” Martino said at a news conference Friday. “They are both day-to-day.”
Messi provided the lone goal in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win for Argentina over Ecuador on Sept. 7 but left the match early due to discomfort. He skipped Argentina’s next qualifier against Bolivia on Sept. 12 before returning to Miami.
After playing in 11 straight matches to open his Inter Miami career, Messi is set to miss three of four matches, with the abbreviated Toronto match his lone appearance. He missed a match against Sporting Kansas City while with Argentina and rested in a loss to Atlanta United, Miami’s first defeat since his arrival.
With the 36-year-old’s health now a potential issue, Martino told reporters that he trusts Messi to know his limits on the field:
“The truth is I have not spoken again to Leo since the match, but his experience gives him the capacity even during a match to know when to stop, when to say enough and when to take precautions,” Martino said.
“It seems very prudent at this stage in his career that he does that more than ever. And I say this on behalf of all of us, because we want to see Leo on the pitch for a long time. It is good for me that he is aware, that he notices when he has to stop this, like he did in the Ecuador game.”
Martino also admitted that Miami’s Leagues Cup run might have come with a cost, with the club playing 14 matches in the past 63 days:
“We knew advancing in the Leagues Cup would have a price, especially because we did more movement in the summer and added more players and others who came from European football,” Martino said.
“We knew we were going to pay a price somewhere, but we cannot complain; we must see the positive side. We came from a place where we were the farthest from our objectives in the league standings to where we are today, the amount of points we now have.”
Inter Miami won its first trophy at the Leagues Cup but is now running out of time to make a charge up the MLS table. The club currently sits 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 9-15-4 record, five points back from ninth-place DC United for a wild-card spot with six matches left to play.