Lionel Messi could possibly appear in Inter Miami’s final game of the Major League Soccer season.
Miami assistant coach Javier Morales confirmed on Friday before Messi trained with the team that the Argentina star will be available to play on Saturday.
“He’s going to travel. We will decide tomorrow how much time he will play,” Morales said.
A muscle injury had limited Messi to only two appearances — and 72 total minutes played — for Miami since September 3. He had played 90 minutes for the first time in 6 weeks last Tuesday in Argentina’s win over Peru for the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.
“Certainly, having Lionel [Messi] in the team is a motivation for everyone. We know what he means for football,” Morales said. “To have him in our team and available to play and compete is always good for us. We’re happy he’s returned and is 100% and we’ll see how he goes tomorrow in the game.”
Messi came as a substitute in the 1-0 home defeat to FC Cincinnati on October 7 that eliminated the Herons from playoff contention.
The last match in Messi’s first season in the MLS at BofA Stadium in Charlotte will be the first time he has played on artificial turf.
Following the Charlotte game, Inter Miami players will have a couple of weeks off before they get back together in November for a two-game-tour to China.
Charlotte is still in the race for the playoffs, in a must win situation to have any hope of grabbing one of the last Eastern Conference postseason spots.
“If he plays, he plays. And we have to deal with,” Charlotte coach Christian Lattanzio said about the possibility of facing Messi.
“We have to focus on ourselves and we have to play our game. And also, we have our supporters on our side and we hope that they will really be behind the guys like they always do.”