Lionel Messi set for lengthy lay off as Inter Miami cancel tour with blunt statement

Argentina's Lionel Messi gestures during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup 2026 against Paraguay at the Monumental stadium, in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 12, 2023.

Lionel Messi is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and out of action, after Inter Miami's November tour of China was cancelled on Wednesday.

After missing out on a Major League Soccer playoff spot, Messi and his Miami teammates had turned their attentions to Asia, and were set for a trip across China to take on Qingdao Hainiu F.C. and Chengdu Rongcheng. The franchise announced the tour last month in a bid to expand its 'global reach' and prepare for 2024.

Football fans in Asia have been left disappointed though as the MLS team confirmed on Wednesday that they had been forced to cancel the tour due to 'unforeseen circumstances'. A short statement posted by Miami suggested displeasure with the decision.

A club statement read: "The tour promoter, NSN, has informed Inter Miami CF of the cancellation of its China Tour due to unforeseen circumstances in China. Inter Miami’s ambition remains to expand its global reach by playing in front of incredible fans from across the globe; the Club will continue to explore future opportunities with NSN to achieve this goal."

The announcement came just a day after it was revealed that Miami captain Messi had won an historic eighth Ballon d'Or crown in Paris. The Argentine will now end his Ballon d'Or-winning year with a much quieter schedule though following the cancellation in China.

Miami's poor finish to the 2023 campaign ensured their season came to an end earlier this month after missing out on the playoffs. This means the Florida-based club are not expected to return to MSL action until next February when the 2024 season gets underway.

Despite being sidelined domestically, Messi will be able to get in some minutes before the year comes to an end on the international stage. The Ballon d'Or winner will captain his nation Argentina against two of their biggest rivals in November, when they take on Uruguay and Brazil in World Cup qualifying.

The layoff may well be a needed one for Messi who struggled for fitness in the final few weeks of the regular season. In the run-in the Argentine missed six of Miami last nine games, including four on the bounce, as Gerardo 'Tata' Martino's saw their playoff hopes diminish.

Post a Comment

Please 🙏 engage and share this content

Previous Post Next Post