Lionel Messi lands in Tokyo – will he play for Inter Miami against Vissel Kobe?

The Inter Miami squad and staff all landed at Tokyo International Airport on Monday morning, after having played – and finally won – their previous friendly game against a Hong Kong XI. The franchise have arrived on Japanese soil ahead of their game against Vissel Kobe in the country’s capital.

This match will be the final round of Messi and Miami’s world tour. After passing through Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong, Japan will close out Miami’s Asian leg of pre-season before returning home to the United States, where they will host Newell’s Old Boys in the last match before the MLS 2024 season finally kicks off.

After the fury that ensued following the absence of Messi and Suárez at the Hong Kong Stadium, the government of the administrative region were upset at not being able to offer their citizens the chance to enjoy the ex-Barcelona pair. The question now arises as to whether Leo and/or Lucho will be in the starting line-up against Vissel Kobe.

Iniesta returns to Japan to meet up with Messi

Andrés Iniesta published on social media that he has also made the trip to Tokyo in the early hours of Monday morning. The 2010 World Cup winner will return to the place he called home for five years, and will witness (as a guest) the match between his former team and his former teammates.

The technical midfielder is still active as a player and currently plies his trade for Emirates Club of the United Arab Emirates. However, he has allowed himself to take a break to meet with Miami’s Barça quartet, his former teammates at the Catalan club.

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Messi didn’t make it off the bench against the Hong Kong XI.LAM YIKREUTERS

Will Messi play for Inter Miami against Vissel Kobe?

Across the five games that Inter Miami have played so far, they have been in terrible form, winning just once and being outscored by 12 goals to 7. Their biggest shock came in the game against Al-Nassr, which saw the Ronaldo-less Saudi side thump their MLS opponents 6-0 in a one-sided affair that a boxing referee would have stopped after Round 2.

Messi did not feature in the most recent game in Hong Kong due to injury as Miami picked themselves up and beat their Asian opponents, and it seems that the doubts surrounding his presence in Japan also appear to be justified. The player is recovering from a hamstring complaint and as such, it is not known whether or not he will be able to make it onto the field for the game.

Leo has an inflammation in his adductor and we are taking it day by day. We always have the hope that things can improve, but the medical staff said it was very risky,” Martino said. Tata was forced to apologise after not bringing on the 8-time Ballon d’Or winner against Hong Kong’s XI, so perhaps he’ll be cleaning the dressing room floor with a toothbrush if he keeps Messi on the bench once again.


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