Is Lionel Messi playing today? Next Inter Miami game vs NYCFC in MLS, CONCACAF Champions Cup competitions

Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami have had a solid start to the 2024 campaign, but have significant work to do if they are to meet the lofty expectations set for them this season.

The Herons sit second in the Eastern Conference standings with 10 points through six matches, but have played an extra game compared to all those around them.

Messi has been a huge part of the club’s early success, scoring key goals in important results. Additionally, with the Argentine missing due to injury for a few games so far, the club has floundered in his absence.

With so many injury issues surrounding Messi’s on-field performances, The Sporting News takes a look at whether Messi will play in Inter Miami’s upcoming match.

MORE: See Inter Miami’s full 2024 schedule here

Is Lionel Messi playing today? Next Inter Miami match vs NYCFC

Lionel Messi was not involved in Argentina’s friendly fixtures against Costa Rica and El Salvador during the March international break, having suffered yet another recurrence of his hamstring issues before reporting for duty.

The Argentine was held out of Inter Miami’s 3-1 win over D.C. United on March 16, and then was forced out of international duty the ensuing week. Messi’s absence for the club’s last match, a 4-0 road defeat at the New York Red Bulls, was always going to happen regardless of his fitness, as had he not been injured he would have been on international duty.

However, now that the international break is over, Messi’s fitness is back in the spotlight. With a home date against NYCFC on Saturday, March 30, the Argentine’s availability appears to have been confirmed.

Messi did not train with the Inter Miami squad on Wednesday, and will not take part in Saturday’s upcoming MLS fixture.

That has also put his availability for their next match, a huge CONCACAF Champions Cup tilt with Monterrey just four days later, in question.

Inter Miami coach Javier Morales confirmed on Friday that Messi would be absent against NYCFC, but is targeting a return vs the Liga MX club in midweek.

“Leo is working with the physios,” Morales told the media, as reported by ESPN. “He is ruled out for tomorrow, he will not be available because we will be trying to do our best so that he can play at home next Wednesday against Monterrey.”

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Inter Miami full MLS fixture list for 2024 season

Inter Miami kicked off the 2024 MLS season against Real Salt Lake on February 21, 2024. Their regular-season campaign will conclude on Decision Day on October 19, when they face New England Revolution.

Date Opponent Location Result
Weds, Feb. 21 Real Salt Lake Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) W 2-0
Sun, Feb. 25 LA Galaxy Dignity Health Sports Park (Carson, CA) D 1-1
Sat, March 2 Orlando City Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) W 5-0
Fri, March 8 Nashville SC Geodis Park (Nashville, TN) D 2-2
Sun, March 10 Montreal Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) L 3-2*
Sat, March 16 D.C. United Audi Field (Washington, DC) W 3-1*
Sat, March 23 NY Red Bulls Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ) L 4-0*
Sat, March 30 NYCFC Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, April 6 Colorado Rapids Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, April 13 Sporting KC Children’s Mercy Park (Kansas City, KS)  
Sat, April 20 Nashville SC Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, April 27 New England Revolution Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)  
Sat, May 4 NY Red Bulls Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, May 11 Montreal Stade Saputo (Montreal, Canada)  
Wed, May 15 Orlando City Exploria Stadium (Orlando, FL)  
Sat, May 18 D.C. United Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, May 25 Vancouver Whitecaps BC Place (Vancouver, Canada)  
Wed, May 29 Atlanta United Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, June 1 St. Louis City Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, June 15 Philadelphia Union Subaru Park (Chester, PA)  
Wed, June 19 Columbus Crew Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, June 29 Nashville SC GEODIS Park (Nashville, TN)  
Wed, July 3 Charlotte FC Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)  
Sat, July 6 FC Cincinnati TQL Stadium (Cincinnati, OH)  
Wed, July 17 Toronto Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, July 20 Chicago Fire Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, Aug. 24 FC Cincinnati Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, Aug. 31 Chicago Fire Soldier Field (Chicago, IL)  
Sat, Sep. 14 Philadelphia Union Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Wed, Sep. 18 Atlanta United Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)  
Sat, Sep. 21 NYCFC Yankee Stadium (New York City, NY)  
Sat, Sep. 28 Charlotte FC Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Wed, Oct. 2 Columbus Crew Lower.com Field (Columbus, OH)  
Sat, Oct. 5 Toronto BMO Field (Toronto, Canada)  
Sat, Oct. 19 New England Revolution Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
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* Lionel Messi did not participate

Inter Miami schedule for Leagues Cup

The 2024 Leagues Cup is scheduled to begin on July 26, running for a month while the MLS season pauses play.

The final will take place on August 25, after which MLS league play will resume. Inter Miami were drawn against two Mexican clubs in Tigres UNAL and Puebla for the group stage. The top two teams in each group qualify for the knockout stage, while the bottom side is eliminated.

Round Date Opponent Score
Group Stage Sat, Jul. 27 Puebla  
Group Stage Sat, Aug. 3 Tigres  
Round of 32 Aug. 7-9 TBD (if qualified)  
Round of 16 Aug. 12-13 TBD (if qualified)  
Quarterfinals Aug. 16-17 TBD (if qualified)  
Semifinals Aug. 20-21 TBD (if qualified)  
Final Sun, Aug. 25 TBD (if qualified)  

Inter Miami schedule for CONCACAF Champions Cup

The 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, North and Central America’s continental club competition, began on February 6, but Inter Miami secured a bye through to the Round of 16 via their qualification as Leagues Cup champions.

Thus, Inter Miami’s first CCC matchup came against fellow MLS side Nashville SC, who they advanced past via a 5-3 aggregate score, drawing Liga MX giants Monterrey in the quarterfinals.

Round Date Opponent Score
Round of 16 — 1st Leg Thu, Mar. 7 Nashville SC Nashville 2-2 Inter Miami
Round of 16 — 2nd Leg Wed, Mar. 13 Nashville SC Inter Miami 3 (5) – (3) 1 Nashville 
Quarterfinals — 1st Leg Wed, Apr. 3 Monterrey  
Quarterfinals — 2nd Leg Wed, Apr. 10 Monterrey  
Semifinals — 1st Leg Apr. 23-25 TBD (if qualified)  
Semifinals — 2nd Leg Apr. 30-May 2 TBD (if qualified)  
Final June 2, 2024 TBD (if qualified)  
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How did Inter Miami play in preseason?

Inter Miami preseason fixtures and results

Inter Miami’s preseason began with matches against the El Salvador national team and FC Dallas before embarking on a tour of Asia in February.

They began with a game against the top players from the Hong Kong First Division at Hong Kong Stadium, where approximately 40,000 fans attended. Despite the absence of Messi and Suarez due to injury, Martino apologised to disappointed fans, emphasising the medical risks involved.

The tour continued on to Tokyo, where Inter faced J1 League champions Vissel Kobe at the Japan National Stadium, featuring a special guest appearance by Andres Iniesta.

Following the Asia trip, Inter Miami returned home to host Newell’s Old Boys, Messi’s boyhood club, in a friendly at Chase Stadium in Miami. That concluded the club’s preseason tour, readying them for the 2024 regular season.

Date Match Location
Fri, Nov. 10, 2024 Inter Miami 1-2 New York City FC DRV PNK Stadium
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA)
Fri, Jan. 19, 2024 Inter Miami 0-0 El Salvador Estadio Cuscatlan
(San Salvador, El Salvador)
Mon, Jan. 22, 2024 Inter Miami 0-1 FC Dallas Cotton Bowl
(Dallas, TX)
Mon, Jan. 29, 2024 Al Hilal 4-3 Inter Miami Kingdom Arena
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Thu, Feb. 1, 2024 Al Nassr 6-0 Inter Miami Kingdom Arena
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Sun, Feb. 4, 2024 Hong Kong All Stars 1-4 Inter Miami Hong Kong Stadium
(Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)
Wed, Feb. 7, 2024 Vissel Kobe 0-0 Inter Miami Japan National Stadium
(Tokyo, Japan)
Thu, Feb. 15, 2024 Inter Miami 1-1 Newell’s Old Boys DRV PNK Stadium
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA)

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