Lionel Messi starting on the Inter Miami bench for potential MLS debut has fans on social media in uproar
- Lionel Messi is starting from the bench after a grueling recent schedule
- The World Cup winner played 120 minutes vs. Cincinnati on Wednesday night
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For many fans across America, the worst was confirmed – Lionel Messi starting on the bench vs. New York Red Bulls in Harrison, NJ.
For two months anticipation has built toward Messi’s MLS debut after a stunning opening to his Inter Miami career.
Tickets on a secondary-sale website were as low as $400 and as expensive as $1,200, just minutes before kick off.
Many of the 25,000 inside the sold-out Red Bull Arena will have paid a high price for the opportunity to watch Messi’s first league game, hoping he would play the majority of the match.
Though, with both he and Sergio Busquets starting on the bench that remains unlikely.
The 36-year-old World Cup winner was not fit enough to begin on the pitch for Saturday night
Tata Martino’s decision to start Lionel Messi on the bench made some waves on social media
Thousands of Lionel Messi fans flocked to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey to see him
As one would imagine, social media lit up once the Herons announced Messi would start on the bench.
‘R.I.P to the ppl [sic] who payed $400 just to see the regular 12th place on the table Miami team,’ one user wrote.
Turns out it is much worse than that. Inter Miami are last (15th) in the Eastern Conference and are 14 points away from a playoff spot – albeit with two games in hand on most teams ahead of them.
‘One of my cousins Argentinian boys in America paid 4 bills to go watch that game just for Messi,’ another wrote.
‘I speak for all Messi fans when I say we are not watching tonight’s match since the goat won’t be starting.’
Despite the disappointment, it is unsurprising to Messi played 120 minutes on Wednesday night in Inter Miami’s US Open Cup semifinal win on penalties over Cincinnati and afterwards, coach Tata Martino suggested he needs to manage Messi’s minutes.
Since arriving as a free agent in July, Messi has made eight appearances during his time with the Fort Lauderdale franchise and starred thus far.
Through those eight games – for which Miami have remained undefeated – Messi has 10 goals and three assists.
Many inside the Red Bull Arena wore in pink or black Messi jerseys – with some holding signs
Despite the Argentine starting on the bench, Saturday’s game is streaming in Times Square
Messi has already won his first trophy in America – the Herons beat Nashville in the Leagues Cup final last week.
Its poor league position aside, Inter Miami will host the U.S. Open Cup final on September 27.
Before then, the franchise has six MLS fixtures; Nashville, LAFC, Sporting KC, Atlanta United, Toronto and Orlando City.