Lionel Messi is hopeful he will be able to play in Inter Miami’s preseason friendly against Vissel Kobe in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Speaking in front of a room of Japanese media in a hotel ballroom Tuesday, Messi expressed disappointment that an injury held him out of Sunday’s game in Hong Kong. Messi’s absence caused fans to boo and chant for a refund in the final minutes and after the final whistle of Inter Miami’s 4-1 win over a team of Hong Kong all-stars.
Messi sat on the bench throughout the game, but was held out due to inflammation in the adductor.
“The truth is that it was bad luck that I couldn’t (play) on the day of the Hong Kong match,” Messi said. “In the first game in Saudi Arabia, I felt discomfort in my adductor and that’s why I left (the game). In the second game, I tried to test it out, to see the sensations I had and how I felt, because I had done the MRI and it had come out that I had an edema in the adductor, which was overloaded, but there was no injury. That’s why I tried to play.
“Then we went to Hong Kong and had the open-door training and I came out because of the number of people there and because there was also a clinic with the kids and I wanted to be present and participate, but the truth is that the discomfort continued and it was very difficult for me to play. Unfortunately, in football, things can happen in any game, that we may have an injury. It happened to me.
“I couldn’t play in the Hong Kong match, and it’s a shame because I always want to participate, I want to be there, and even more so when it comes to these games when we travel so far and people are so excited to see our matches. I hope we can return and we can play another game and I can be present, as I do whenever I can, but the truth is that it is a shame that I was not able to participate.”
Messi said he was not sure yet if he would be able to play against Vissel Kobe on Wednesday. The team arrived in Tokyo on Monday evening to cold, snowy weather and the temperatures are supposed to hover in the mid-to upper-30s for the game’s 7 p.m. local kickoff.
“This afternoon we are going to train, I am going to try again,” Messi said. “The truth is that I feel very good compared to a few days ago and depending on how that (training) goes, and if I’m honest, I still don’t know if I will be able to or not, but I feel much better and I really want to be able to do it.”
This is the last game of this international portion of Inter Miami’s preseason — a tour that will see them travel more than 25,000 miles as they played games in El Salvador, Dallas, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Japan before heading back for one final game against Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys in Fort Lauderdale.
(Photo: Francois Nel / Getty Images)