Lionel Messi Sep 20, 2023; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) during the first half against the Toronto FC at DRV PNK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Messi unexpectedly left Wednesday night’s match against Toronto FC after 36 minutes, with Inter Miami FC Hub describing the issue as “muscle discomfort.”

The international star, playing his first MLS season with Inter Miami, was appearing in his first match in almost two weeks.

Although this did not appear to be serious, everything is magnified when you’re talking about the most popular player in the sport.

Left-back Jordi Albo also got subbed out because of an injury.

Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino did not shed much light on the situation in a halftime interview with Apple TV.

“They had to go out, we will evaluate them as the days go by,” Martino said.

Messi’s move to Miami this year has boosted MLS and Inter Miami’s TV, attendance and merchandise numbers, so they can ill afford an extended absence. Many fans at the Miami-Toronto match could be seen apparently leaving after Messi’s injury.

Sports fans had some interesting memes and observations after Messi’s exit.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.