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Lionel Messi, Inter Miami coach criticizes MLS management after injury scare


Inter Miami head coach Gerardo Martino has called on Major League Soccer to “revise” duties within the new player injury rules, which star player Lionel Messi appeared to criticize during a live broadcast on Sunday after the 36-year-old suffered an injury scare.

Messi, an eight-time Ballon d'Or winner as the world's best player, briefly left Inter Miami's match in Montreal late in the first half after suffering a left knee problem.

Messi was injured in the 40th minute of the game near midfield. He was fouled by Montreal defender George Campbell and immediately went down, clutching his knee and writhing in pain. Inter Miami's medical staff went onto the field to treat Messi, who got up and walked to the Miami sideline after about two minutes.

Messi was not sent off, but under a new MLS rule, he had to spend two minutes on the sideline while Miami played with 10 men. During that period, Messi turned to the sideline cameras and expressed his frustration in Spanish, The Argentine superstar caught the broadcast microphone Saying “with rules like this… it's getting worse.”

Inter Miami later came back to win the match 3-2, marking Messi's first game in Canada in his nearly two-decade top-flight professional career.

The 2024 MLS rulebook states that “If the referee stops play due to a possible player injury where the player is on the ground for more than 15 seconds and medical staff enter the field of play, the player may be required to leave the field. Play for two minutes.”

There are certain circumstances that negate the required two-minute absence, one of which is if the injury occurred on a yellow or red card foul. Campbell was not carded for fouling Messi. Speaking to reporters after the match, Martino took issue with both the call and the overreaching rule, Per ESPN.com.

“He was clearly fouled in Leo's situation,” Martino said. “The player deserved a yellow card, which means Messi never left the field for two minutes. As I understand it, the team that was fouled was punished. With this new rule change, there are situations that should be corrected. The infringement was clear and it was a yellow card and in the end we lost Leo for two minutes.”

Messi's absence almost fueled Miami at a critical time when the team trailed 2-0, but Matias Rojas scored on a free kick due to a foul on Campbell, a shot that Messi would surely have taken had he been in the match at the time. . Messi rejoined the game minutes later and was on the field when Luis Suarez scored in first-half stoppage time to draw Inter Miami to a 2-2 draw. Rojas later set up Benjamin CremaschiThe winning goal in the 59th minute.

Inter Miami (8-2-3) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) despite Messi being held without a goal or assist for the first time in his nine MLS appearances this season. The MLS Eastern Conference leader is 7-0-2 in those nine games; One of those losses came against Montreal in March, a game in which Messi did not play.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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