June 24, 2024

Why Lionel Messi might ‘refuse’ to play in some MLS games

Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi could reportedly refuse to play in some games as MLS teams face a major dilemma.

After weeks of intense speculation, it was confirmed last month that Messi will sign for Inter Miami when his contract with Paris Saint Germain expires.

Since then, many fans have been waiting in anticipation for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to be revealed.

On Sunday, Messi was officially paraded as Inter Miami’s new player in front of a packed stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

However, ahead of Messi’s debut for his new club, there are concerns that the Argentine legend may refuse to play in some MLS games due to the playing surface.

According to the Daily MirrorMessi is not happy to play on artificial surfaces.

In the MLS, six teams currently use turf instead of grass at their stadiums. Those clubs are believed to be New England Revolution, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, Charlotte FC, Vancouver Whitecaps and Atlanta United.

With away trips to Charlotte and Atlanta still to come for Inter Miami, Messi’s absence could be a mega commercial blow for the clubs and MLS.

Image Credit: Getty

Previously, David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic expressed concern about artificial surfaces.

Beckham said Globe and Mail: “As a professional athlete, you can’t play a game like soccer on that kind of field. What it does to your body as a soccer player, you’re in bits for three days afterwards.

“Every game, every team should have grass, without a doubt. You can’t ask any athlete to perform at a higher level on the FieldTurf.”

Although Ibrahimovic said: “By playing on turf, there is a risk that I will be harmed. I don’t say I will be hurt.

“I don’t know; I could also get hurt in normal games but the consequence is everywhere, the risk is everywhere. The risk is higher on the turf and I tried to play on the turf in Portland, and I felt very bad.”

Image Credit: Getty
Image Credit: Getty

MLS Commissioner Don Garber also spoke about the situation.

He told The Athletic: “That is the decision of each club when they travel to those stadiums that do not have natural grass.

“My expectation is that they will, but there’s a lot of work to be done to figure that all out. MLS promotes a lot of international games and we’ve been able to bring natural grass into those stadiums, but we haven’t done that for a regular season game.”

He said: “And then you see some of the best players who have ever played the game, the (Thierry) Henrys of the world and the Kakas of the world, who have played on turf. So I think that’s a process that has to work over time.”

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