CHICAGO — Thanks to an injury, there is now a question as to whether the world’s greatest soccer player will indeed take the pitch at Soldier Field Wednesday night.
An injury could force Lionel Messi to sit out that match against Chicago Fire FC.
It’s very possible that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner for world player of the year and 2022 World Cup champion for Argentina could be on the bench for Inter Miami CF in one of the most anticipated matches in Fire history.
Messi is dealing with a leg injury that forced him to miss the MLS club’s last three games and four of his last five. On Saturday, it was announced that he wouldn’t play against New York City FC less than an hour before the match that was played at DRV PKN Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
The last match Messi played was on September 20 against Toronto FC at home, when he played 37 minutes before being subbed out before halftime. He missed Inter Miami CF previous match against Atlanta United FC on September 16 and then against Orlando City on September 24, Houston on September 27 in the US Open Cup Final, and then the match against NYCFC on Saturday.
Not having Messi on the pitch would be a tremendous letdown for the over 50,000 people who purchased tickets for the match against the Fire at Soldier Field. Ticket prices were elevated when it was announced that the forward was signing with Inter Miami CF in July, which has been the case across MLS.
So far, Messi has played in 12 matches in MLS, mostly in Leagues Cup play, scoring 11 goals with eight assists. A goal and two assists have come during the MLS regular season as Inter Miami CF continues to battle for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
In their own fight for the postseason, Chicago Fire FC is certainly keeping an eye on the status of Messi, whose presence on the pitch would have a massive impact on the match.
“Obviously with Messi on the pitch, it’s an element to their team and in their game where you have a very good team but you have a player now that at any moment can turn the game upside down with one play, so obviously it’s a little bit of a different team,” said Chicago Fire FC manager Frank Klopas on Messi. “Obviously with him on the pitch but we have to prepare both scenarios, if he’s on the pitch, if he’s not on the pitch. I think our tactical organization has to cover — we’ll go through a couple different scenarios, and then I think we have confidence.”
Meanwhile, he along with the players will have to wait to see if the world’s greatest soccer player will indeed take the pitch at Soldier Field on Wednesday.