Injured Messi missing again for Miami
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 29: Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF looks on during an Inter Miami CF Training Session at Florida Blue Training Center on September 29, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Megan Briggs/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Megan Briggs / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, United States (AFP)— Lionel Messi was ruled out with injury again on Saturday, not named in Inter Miami's squad for Saturday's Major League Soccer clash with New York City FC, as he missed his third straight game.

Messi was substituted after 38 minutes of the team's win over Toronto FC on September 20 but missed the following league game at Orlando and Wednesday's US Open Cup defeat to Houston.

Prior to the Toronto game, the World Cup winner had skipped the away trip to Atlanta having also sat out Argentina's World Cup qualifier in Bolivia.

Saturday's game is a crucial one for Miami's hopes of making the playoffs and they will also be without Messi's former Barcelona team-mate Jordi Alba, who is out with a hamstring injury.

NYCFC currently occupy the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting in ninth place, five points ahead of Miami but the Florida side have two games in hand.

Miami's Argentine head coach Gerardo Martino said his team, who are also without right-back DeAndre Yedlin, had been unfortunate with injuries.

"Casualties are part of what can happen in a season but they hardly ever happen in the quantity and importance that we have, but we have to accept it," he said.

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