Messi substituted after just 37 minutes in Miami return

Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba arrive for Wednesday’s match with Toronto FC (Chris Arjoon)

Lionel Messi was substituted just 37 minutes into his return to action for Inter Miami against Toronto in Major League Soccer on Wednesday.

Messi missed Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at Atlanta with what coach Gerardo Martino said was “muscle fatigue” after coming back from international duty with Argentina.

His former Barcelona team-mate Jordi Alba also missed that game but started on Wednesday and he also had to leave the field, limping off just three minutes before Messi.

Messi did not suffer any contact injury but looked in discomfort and was moving gingerly before handing his captain’s armband to team-mate DeAndre Yedlin and leaving the field.

Messi had played  12 games in a 48-day stretch after making his debut for Miami in late July.

He was substituted in the final minutes of Argentina’s 1-0 win over Ecuador in their South American World Cup qualifier on September 7 and then skipped their match at Bolivia, five days later.

Despite Saturday’s defeat, Miami, next to bottom of the Eastern Conference, remain in with a chance of making the MLS playoffs but Martino has indicated his giving priority in his team selection and preparation to Miami’s US Open Cup final match against Houston on September 27.



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