Lionel Messi out for Inter Miami’s Champions Cup match against Monterrey

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Lionel Messi remains out with a hamstring injury and is not available for Inter Miami’s crucial home clash against Liga MX side Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday night.

Messi has missed the past three games after sustaining a hamstring injury in Inter Miami’s 3-1 victory over Nashville in the previous round of the Champions Cup on March 13. Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said Tuesday that Messi would be a game-time decision. The Argentine star trained with the team on Monday and Tuesday.

Martino said the team would not risk aggravating the injury by rushing the 36-year-old’s return.

“Leo has had an injury, and (we’re) managing his time given that injury,” Martino said.

“Seeing that we have a very important game tomorrow, we have to consider that we are only in the beginning of April, for us this is only just (the) beginning, and what we shouldn’t do is risk our player’s physical health.

“What we will determine is fundamentally what is best for Leo, like with any player, and from there we will make the right decisions.”

Messi was subbed out 50 minutes into a 3-1 win over Nashville, having earlier netted his fifth goal of the season.

Inter Miami has gone 1-1-1 in the three games without Messi, but will now face a top opponent in Monterrey. Rayados currently sit second in the Liga MX table, tied with first-place Club America on points with 28.

Winning the Champions Cup would secure a berth in next year’s FIFA Club World Cup, which will include some of the top clubs in the world. MLS teams did not fare well in Tuesday’s Champions Cup games. Columbus tied Tigres, 1-1, at home, while Club America beat New England Revolution, 4-0, in Foxborough, Mass.

Messi’s friend and Miami teammate Luis Suarez said Tuesday the team would have to figure out a way to get a result at home, with or without their star player.

“Obviously, there are players who make a difference by not being there. We know each other well,” he said. “But yeah, we’ll wait until tomorrow to know if he’s playing or not. If he’s not, we’ll try to do what we did the other day, and try to win these games without him, and, well, if he’s playing, obviously we’ll enjoy it and make the most of it.”

(Photo: Rich Storry/Getty Images)

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