Michelle Kaufman, an Inter Miami beat reporter for the Miami Herald, has proclaimed that it is a “disservice to the fans” that Lionel Messi does not speak to the media. The Argentine superstar previously joined the Major League Soccer side in July. While it has now been over six months since his arrival, Messi rarely conducts interviews with reporters.

Kaufman was previously able to get a one-on-one interview with Messi back on Aug. 17. The brief discussion lasted just five minutes and she was one of only three or four reporters to speak with the star. Since then, however, Messi has remained inaccessible to the media.

It was previously revealed that Miami was essentially bending the rules by allowing Messi to remain silent. Under league guidelines, MLS players typically have to be available for postgame interviews. This, however, has not been the case for Messi. Nevertheless, The Athletic also reported that the superstar was far from the only player to not adhere to the rules.

Superstars generally have to conduct interviews in American sports

The reporter voiced her opinion regarding the issue during a recent appearance on the newspaper’s Inside Inter Miami podcast. While Kaufman spoke about a plethora of topics on the team, she spoke on the frustrations of the Messi situation for nearly eight minutes.

“The local media, we have requested to have some time with [Messi], to have a press conference, to have something,” began Kaufman. “Because clearly, he is one of the two biggest players in the world. He’s playing on this team. I cover this team on a day-to-day basis, and I don’t get to talk to the biggest star on the team. This does not happen in other countries.”

“The biggest stars in NFL teams, even during Super Bowl weeks, are talking to the media. In basketball during the NBA finals, the top players talk to the media. Messi just never has, and he clearly doesn’t have to.”

Kaufman went on to understand Messi wanting more time with his family but also asserted that speaking to the media is general practice here in the United States. “As a professional athlete, and especially in this country, where athletes do speak to the media, that is the way we do things here,” continued Kaufman. “That is the practice here. I do hope that we do have a couple of opportunities to speak with him.”

Messi has not publicly discussed major news in recent months

Messi has avoided speaking to reporters in recent months despite significant news to potentially discuss. For starters, the star was recently reunited with former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez. Not only was the duo immensely successful in Spain, but they are also very close friends.

“We haven’t even had a chance to get a quote from Luis Suarez’s best friend,” proclaimed Kaufman. “That is [Messi’s] best friend. We’ve heard from Luis Suarez on how it is going to be to play with his best friend. We need to hear from Messi. The clock is ticking. I’m waiting for that interview.”

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Miami is also set to face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr this week. The rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo has been one of the biggest stories in the world of soccer. Unfortunately for soccer fans, Ronaldo is missing the game because of a calf injury. The same knock canceled Al-Nassr’s friendlies in China.

Kaufman went on to rue the fact that Messi has not publicly discussed the previous potential of playing Ronaldo. “It’s a big void in the coverage of Leo Messi and this team that we don’t ever get his perspective on anything,” Kaufman stated. “And this is a glaring example. He is about to play his biggest rival, one of the greatest rivalries in sports history, and we don’t have a single quote from Messi.”

“I know that the league, the team, and everyone have to do whatever Messi says, but it’s a disservice to the fans that [they] never get his perspective on how his first season went so far. I think the fans would like to know how he feels his first season in MLS went.”

Miami faces the Saudi side on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. ET. The matchup, like the club’s remaining preseason fixtures, will be available to stream on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.


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