Lionel Messi has been officially ruled out of Inter Miami's squad for the highly anticipated US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo that has got underway.
The team confirmed this news, casting a shadow over their prospects in the crucial match.
Messi's absence in the final had been a subject of speculation due to an injury concern that had surfaced prior to the big showdown. His absence was noticeable when he missed his team's recent 1-1 draw with Orlando City on Sunday.
The Argentine football sensation's fitness status has been a matter of mystery and concern since his return from international duty with the Argentine national team earlier this month.
Messi was subbed off in the final minutes of Argentina's 1-0 victory over Ecuador in their South American World Cup qualifier on September 7. Subsequently, he decided to sit out the match against Bolivia, five days later.
On the domestic front, the 36-year-old forward had already skipped a game against Atlanta on September 16, citing "muscle fatigue" as the reason for his absence. However, he made a swift return to the pitch, playing against Toronto just four days later. Unfortunately, his return was short-lived as he was substituted after a mere 37 minutes of play.
In another blow to Inter Miami's prospects, the club confirmed that Messi's former Barcelona teammate, Jordi Alba, would also not be available for the final. This unexpected turn of events has forced the team to rethink their starting lineup for the crucial match.
The US Open Cup, a historic knockout tournament that brings together amateur and professional teams, has been a part of American soccer tradition since 1914. It holds the distinction of being the oldest soccer competition in the United States, with a rich history that adds extra excitement to the final showdown between Inter Miami and Houston Dynamo.
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