Lionel Messi opens up on his fitness ahead of Inter Miami’s game in Japan

Lionel Messi opens up on his fitness ahead of Inter Miami’s game in Japan

Lionel Messi spoke to the press ahead of Inter Miami’s game in Japan against Vissel Kobe (Wednesday 7 February 2024, KO 5am ET/3am PT). The Argentine forward was unable to feature in The Herons’ recent fixture against a Hong Kong XI and his absence caused an uproar that caused the organisers to lose money in the millions with the fury even rising all the way to government.

As such, the presence of the former Barcelona forward has been a huge talking point, with his injury causing people to fear that he will also miss out on the game against Miami’s Japanese opponents.

“We’re going to train this afternoon. The truth is that I feel good compared to the other day and depending on how I get on, I’ll see if I play”, said Messi when asked about whether or not he was going to participate in the game, easily the theme of the day in East Asia.

What did Messi say about his fitness in Japan?

Messi remained coy on his potential place in the side led by Tata Martino, saying “if I’m honest, I don’t know if I’ll be able to or not, but I feel much better and I’m very keen to be able to play”. His physical issue had been described as many things as rumours swirled regarding his fitness, especially since it caused the player to miss the end of the 2023 MLS season. However, Messi himself calmed the shaking fingers of the journalists typing ahead of him, stating that “I had an overload, but there wasn’t an injury”.

“In the second half [in Saudi Arabia], I played the minutes I did in order to test myself and see how I felt”, he added regarding specifics of the issue that kept him out, “it was bad luck that I couldn’t be there, I felt a niggle in my adductor in Saudi Arabia. The scan showed swelling, but not an injury.”

“After that we went to Hong Kong and had an open training session; I came out [onto the pitch] because of the amount of people that had come”, Messi admitted, showing that he did indeed have the fans in mind, despite the visible anger coming from the stands.

Vissel Kobe – Inter Miami:

‘That’s just football… it’s a shame, I want to be there’

“That’s just football,”, he said frankly, “you can get an injury in any game and it happened to me, I wasn’t ready for the game in Hong Kong. It’s a shame because I always want to participate, I want to be there, and even more so when it’s those games where we travel so far and the people are so excited”, the number 10 assured.

Messi did express a desire to return to Hong Kong and put on a show for those who missed out, saying “hopefully we can go back and I can train. The pre-season tour is coming to an end and I’d like to play the last game in Japan before going back [to the US].” The game between Vissel Kobe and Inter Miami will be played at Japan National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday 7 February 2024, with kick-off scheduled for 5am ET/3am PT.


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