Lionel Messi is unlikely to play in MLS again this season, according to Inter Miami coach Tata Martino, after the club missed the playoffs.
Miami has nothing to play for in 2023 after failing to make the postseason semifinals, with a 1-0 loss at home to Cincinnati earlier this month effectively ending their season.
Messi was only able to play 35 minutes off the bench in his first MLS season, which ended in disappointment.
The Argentina great has missed their previous four matches due to a muscle injury sustained in last month’s 4-0 triumph at Toronto, including the US Open Cup final loss to Houston Dynamo.
And, with two regular-season MLS games remaining, Miami coach Martino has indicated that his captain will not participate in them in order to avoid any dangers.
Messi will not play against Charlotte on Wednesday at DRV PNK Stadium after appearing and scoring twice in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Peru on Tuesday.
This Saturday, Miami will play its final game of the season against the same opponent in North Carolina.
Martino said: ‘We will evaluate not only Leo, but all players who are with their national teams when they return Thursday, as we are out of the playoffs, and we don’t want to run any risks.’