Inter Miami star Lionel Messi did not dress for Saturday’s match at Atlanta United, the second match he missed this week.
Atlanta is among five MLS stadiums with artificial turf surfaces. Messi and defender Jordi Alba did not dress for Atlanta United’s 5-2 win.Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” said the decision to hold out Messi was “because he has muscular fatigue it was prudent to leave him.” Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank said he believes the at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a surface viewed by some players as more taxing on their bodies than grass, was not the reason Messi remained in Miami.
Blank referred to Messi’s statement after signing with Inter Miami that he wouldn’t avoid playing on an artificial don’t really have an opinion on that. I’d just repeat what he said in his press conference, that he has competed on artificial turf since he was a youngster and to some extent as a professional. I don’t think it had anything to do with his decision. I think he suffered some sort of injury, however minor it might be.Atlanta United coach Gonzalo said he learned about Messi’s decision on social media.“Honestly, I told the players, there are a lot of things out there in the atmosphere and everything seems to be about Inter Miami. We have to turn that to about us.” Blank spoke at a news conference before the match to discuss details of Friday’s announcement that the U.S.Federation plans to build a national training center in Atlanta. The project is backed by a USD 50 million donation from Blank.
Blank said NFL research since 2021 showed injuries on and natural grass to be “about the same.” Falcons CEO Rich McKay, a member of the NFL competition committee who also attended the news conference, also said research showed injuries on and grass to be similarly common.
Messi’s absence for the Major League Soccer match was a disappointment for a crowd of 71,635 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.fans wore pink Inter Miami shirts with Messi’s name on the back. Marriott, a native of Jamaica and Atlanta resident who previously lived in Miami, attended the game with his wife, daughters and nephew. All wore Messi jerseys, though he said he otherwise supports Atlanta United.
“I was an Argentina fan growing and I’ve always been a fan of Messi,” Marriott said.
“I’m an Atlanta fan as well, but today I’m here supporting Messi. I want my children to see a legend.” Marriott was surprised to hear Messi would not attend the game. “No, I did not know that,” Marriott said, looking at his family.
“If he’s not, they’re going to be disappointed. That’s where we spent all the money, just to see him.” Messi watched from the bench on Tuesday in Argentina’s World Cup qualifying win at Bolivia. Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni said Messi was not feeling well.
Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” said on Friday he will avoid overworking the 36-year-old Messi during a busy portion of the team’s schedule.
“I checked the Twitter account to know he was not coming,” said, adding he encouraged his players to remain focused despite the attention given Messi’s status
“I think he made that decision,” Blank said