Lionel Messi and Inter Miami troubled by key defender suffering brutal injury


Inter Miami CF center back Nicolas Freire
Inter Miami CF center back Nicolas Freire (21) looks up field during a match between the New England Revolution and Inter Miami CF on April 27, 2024, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. 

Inter Miami, currently leading the MLS table, faces a setback as their star defender Nicolas Freire suffered a torn ACL, keeping him out for the rest of the season.

Freire sustained the season-ending injury during a recent match against DC United, where Inter Miami secured a 1-0 victory with a goal from Leonardo Campana in extra time. The club's communications department confirmed that Freire would undergo surgery at Baptist Health and is projected to be sidelined for the rest of the season.

Throughout the 2024 season, Freire, the Argentine defender on loan from Liga MX team Pumas UNAM, has been a crucial element in Inter Miami's success. He has started in nine of his 10 games and accumulated an impressive 740 minutes on the pitch.

His passing abilities, with a completion rate of 92 percent of his passes this season, have significantly contributed to Inter Miami's gameplay. Miami's 31 points are among the highest among all the teams in the MLS standings, and they hold a one-point lead over FC Cincinnati.

Miami has put on a striking clinic this season, with an impressive goal difference of +16. This makes them the top scorers in the league with 36 goals. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have been instrumental in this achievement, with the former Barcelona stars contributing a combined total of 21 goals.

Their offensive performances include an unprecedented eight-match winning streak, a record matched only by one other team in MLS history. Beyond their dominance in the league, Inter Miami also showcased their skill on the international stage by reaching the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Despite their valiant effort, they were ultimately eliminated by a formidable Monterrey side.

The Messi-led squad has faced many injuries this season, affecting their lineup and performance. In addition to Freire's season-ending ACL injury, other notable players sidelined include Facundo Farias, who sustained a season-long knee injury in January, and Diego Gomez, diagnosed with a high ankle sprain in April.

Robbie Robinson has also been absent throughout 2024 due to a calf injury. Despite his own battle with muscle issues, Messi continues to make significant contributions to the team's performance, a trend that has persisted since the end of last year. In Freire's absence, the team is anticipated to lean on Tomas Aviles and Sergii Kryvtsov as the primary center-back pairing. Additionally, Miami has 25-year-old CB Ryan Sailor, who has played in four games for the club this season.

Head coach Tata Martino mentioned that various names could surface in the team's transfer rumors as they explore options to enhance their roster depth. Miami has been linked to PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas, among other potential additions, as they eye reinforcements during the Secondary Transfer Window, set from July 18 to August 14.

"Several names will pop up," Martino told the media. At this moment, we have a couple of months until the window opens; we're not thinking about that right now."

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