Messi out of Miami squad for US Open Cup final
Inter Miami's Argentine forward #10 Lionel Messi celebrates scoring during the CONCACAF Leagues Cup semifinal football match between Inter Miami and Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, on August 15, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

MIAMI, United States (AFP)— Lionel Messi was ruled out of Inter Miami's squad for their US Open Cup final clash Wednesday with Houston Dynamo, the team confirmed.

The Argentine superstar had been an injury doubt leading up to the final in Florida after missing his team's 1-1 draw with Orlando City on Sunday.

Messi's fitness has been shrouded in mystery since he returned from international duty with Argentina earlier this month.

He was substituted in the final minutes of Argentina's 1-0 win over Ecuador in their South American World Cup qualifier on September 7 and then skipped their match at Bolivia, five days later.

The 36-year-old missed a game against Atlanta on September 16 with what was described as "muscle fatigue."

He then returned to play against Toronto four days later, but was substituted after just 37 minutes.

Inter Miami confirmed in their starting line-up released Wednesday that Messi's former Barcelona team-mate Jordi Alba would also play no part in the final.

The US Open Cup, a knockout tournament for amateur and professional teams, has been contested since 1914, making it by far the oldest soccer competition in the United States.

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