Gerardo Martino makes bleak Lionel Messi injury admission

  • Messi has not played for Inter Miami since coming off injured against Toronto in September
  • The Herons are 13th in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference with four games left to be played
  • Manager Martino could not provide an exact timeline for the World Cup winner's return
Martino gave an update on Messi's current fitness level
Martino gave an update on Messi's current fitness level / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Inter Miami head coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino has explained Lionel Messi's current fitness level, revealing "he should be training" ahead of the clash against Chicago FC on Wednesday.

The former FC Barcelona figure has now missed the last three matches, last making a 30-minute appearance against Toronto FC on September 20. Though he made the starting lineup against the Canadian side, Messi left the field in discomfort during the first half before walking directly into the locker room.

He failed to train following the September 20 clash, but has since returned in a limited capacity and remains separate from the team during sessions.

"He should be training," Tata told reporters ahead of the Matchday 36 game. "...It could be today or tomorrow. The thing is tomorrow is a match day. Maybe he does the first part of training, the warm-up, but only because it's a question of the quality of the training."

The coach confirmed an inability to provide an exact timeline on Messi, insisting the muscle fatigue caused by scarring from a past injury forced his time on the sidelines.

"I would say 'one month' if I knew it was one month," the Argentine manager added. "...I make a huge mistake if I say something hastily. That's why I avoid exact times. I understand your desire to have exact times, but if I had exact times I would share them. But I don't have them either."

Messi joined Inter Miami in July, making his way directly into the starting 11 for the inaugural Leagues Cup tournament. He featured in all matches, leading the Herons to the trophy after a successful 7-game run that culminated with a 1-1 (9-10) win over Nashville SC in penalties.



The World Cup champion then continued to play as the Herons attempted to climb the Eastern Conference title in the hopes to secure a postseason slot, before his participation came to a sudden halt during the Toronto match.

Without the key figure, the Herons have failed to win their last three matches. The team fell 1-2 to the Houston Dynamo in the US Open Cup final and tied twice in regular-season MLS play.

Now, with four games left to be played and 12 much-needed points on the line, the South Florida side must earn positive results to climb out of 13th place on the Eastern Conference table and into a top nine slot.

The Lionel Messi era is officially underway - watch live as history unfolds with MLS Season Pass. Click here to subscribe!