Lionel Messi said he is hopeful he will be able to play in Inter Miami’s final Asian tour game on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan after dealing with an injury.
Messi did not play in Inter Miami’s friendly against a Hong Kong XI due to muscle discomfort on Monday. That resulted in 40,000 fans at Hong Kong Stadium expressing their displeasure following the game. The Hong Kong government even got involved afterward, releasing a statement stating they were “extremely disappointed” that the Argentine star did not take part.
After playing 87 minutes in a loss to Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, Messi did not take the field until the final seven minutes against Al Nassr — the much-hyped game against Cristiano Ronaldo’s team, which Ronaldo himself missed with an injury.
An adductor injury is what’s been bothering Messi and Inter Miami would like to keep him as healthy as possible as his full first season in MLS, which kicks off Feb. 21 against Real Salt Lake, approaches.
“The truth is that it was bad luck that I couldn’t be present on the day of the match in Hong Kong,” Messi said via USA Today.
“In the first game of the tour in Saudi Arabia I felt discomfort in my adductor and that’s why I left the match. In the second game I played the minutes I played to test myself, to see what sensations I had and how I felt because I had an MRI done and the results showed that I had swelling in the adductor, but there was no injury. That’s why I tried.
“Then we went to Hong Kong and we were in the open training and I was present because of the number of people there and because there was also a clinic with kids and I wanted to be present and participate. But the truth is that the discomfort was still there and it made it very difficult for me to play.”
Messi and Miami will take on Japanese club Vissel Kobe Wednesday before heading home ahead of their final preseason game on Feb. 15 against Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys, the club that Messi played for as a boy before he moved to Barcelona.
“The truth is that I feel better in comparison to the past days, and depending on how it goes I will see if I play,” Messi added. “If I’m honest, I still don’t know if I will be able to or not, but I feel much better, and I really want to be able to play.”