Even before winning the Copa America and World Cup, Messi made a strong commitment to Argentina. In the past, though, his time with Barcelona and PSG followed FIFA’s international soccer calendar. In other words, he would not miss games because of international duty. Major League Soccer made a major change to accommodate its international stars. Major League Soccer will follow the FIFA calendar, which means he will not miss Inter Miami games due to Argentina friendlies or CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying.
This has already happened in his brief time with Inter Miami. In September and October 2023, toward the end of the Inter Miami campaign, Messi played with Argentina in World Cup qualifying games. In those games, he picked up injuries. He subsequently sat out of six games with Inter Miami that extended from that knock. That is the risk Inter Miami faces this season.
Also, Messi will have the Copa America this summer and friendlies Argentina is using to prepare for the competition. That will take Messi out of the squad for what could be one month. Argentina has had success in the tournament in years prior, including winning the competition in 2021. A deep run will mean Messi is with the Argentina squad from mid-June to mid-July. That means Inter Miami will play a considerable chunk of games without its superstar.
Before that, Messi is likely to participate in Argentina’s friendlies scheduled in March against Nigeria and Ivory Coast. If Messi travels for those games, Messi will likely have to miss the following Inter Miami games:
March 16 vs DC United (away)
March 23 vs New York Red Bulls (away)
What other games will Messi miss in the 2024 MLS Season on Argentina duty?
Based on the scheduling of the Copa America, Messi will be out of the Inter Miami squad for one month. This could change based on Argentina’s performance, though. For example, if Argentina crashes out in the group stage, Messi will return to Miami sooner than expected. We will assume Messi will be out of commission for the entire Copa America. Also, we must factor in a week or so of preparation before the tournament. Likewise, Messi will need some recuperation time after the Copa America.
Here are the games Messi may miss during June and July 2024 for Inter Miami.
- June 15 vs. Philadelphia Union (away)
- June 19 vs. Columbus Crew (home)
- June 29 vs. Nashville SC (away)
- July 3 vs. Charlotte FC (away)
- July 6 vs. FC Cincinnati (away)
- July 17 vs. Toronto FC (home)
- July 20 vs. Chicago Fire (home)
There is one trend that stands out among the seven games Messi will be unavailable for. Each of those away games is a fixture Messi has already played in. Messi and Inter Miami defeated the Philadelphia Union and Nashville SC on the road in its Leagues Cup success. Then, the club defeated FC Cincinnati in Ohio in the US Open Cup. A trip to Charlotte FC was the last game in the side’s MLS campaign. Crucially, Messi already played in those venues, which means fans in the area will have already had the opportunity to see the Argentine and his superstar teammates.
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There also may be implications for Messi’s availability for the US Open Cup Quarterfinals on July 9 and 10. Then, Messi will be fully available for the Leagues Cup at the end of July and into August as Inter Miami defends its title.
Also, Inter Miami does not have any league games scheduled for the June international break. When Messi plays a pair of friendlies in Chicago and Landover, MD, Inter Miami will not have any games.
Season starts in February and concludes in December
Even if Messi is going to be available for games, there is no guarantee he will play in every home and away game with Inter Miami. Rather, it is incredibly likely Inter Miami will provide Messi with time off to rest and remain healthy. There is no telling which games Tata Martino will rest Messi for. However, that is sure to irk fans wherever it happens.
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