Fuming Messi, Suarez, Alba confront referee as Argentina captain misses Champions Cup loss

Jason Soutar
Lionel Messi walks on the pitch before a match.
Lionel Messi walks on the pitch before a match.

Inter Miami coach Tata Martino has revealed why he did not risk Lionel Messi for his side’s Champions Cup clash against Mexican side Monterrey.

Messi has now missed Miami’s last five fixtures, which his team have only won one of, 3-1 away to D.C. United on March 16.

Lionel Messi injury being judged ‘day to day’

Speaking last week, Martino’s assistant Javier Morales refused to rule the Argentine out of Wednesday’s encounter at home to Monterrey after revealing he would not be risked for the MLS match against New York City.

“Tomorrow he won’t be available because we are trying to do our best so that he’s available next Wednesday against Monterrey here at home,” Morales said last Friday.

Miami drew 1-1 against New York City and went in to Wednesday’s match in a funk only the return of Messi could get them out of.

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Unfortunately for David Beckham and co, Messi did not return to face Monterrey and the game finished 2-1 to the Mexican side.

Many had expected the Argentina captain to return and Miami will be desperate for a full recovery in time for the second leg next Thursday.

After the defeat, Miami boss Martino explained why Messi did not play.

“We had said Leo will be day to day, and he was not ready to play today, it would have been too much of a risk,” he said.

“He is feeling better each day, and we will re-evaluate for the Colorado game [on Saturday] and the return leg against Monterrey next week [Wednesday].”

Even without Messi on the pitch, defender Nicolas Freire said his leadership was still notable.

“He is a born leader and he is always supporting whether it is his turn to play or not, that is what leaders do and he is always present,” Freire said after the game.

Messi, Suarez, Alba furious with referee

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Messi was joined by Martino and team-mates Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba in confronting referee Walter Lopez Castellanos after the match.

FOX journalist Fernando Schwartz says they all visited the referee’s office after a fiercely competitive fixture that brought nine yellow cards, two of which were awarded to David Ruiz, who was dismissed in the 66th minute, five minutes after being booked.

Schwartz wrote on X: ‘The big thing was put together in the locker room. Martino. Messi. Suarez and Alba went to the referee to complain and then outside the dressing room.

‘Rayado (Monterrey) looked for anger and to intimidate Tano Ortiz (Monterrey manager) for his previous statements that the arbitration could favor the MLS. Messi also faced Nico Sanchez (Monterrey’s assistant manager). Rayados asked CONCACAF to take note and report.’

In regards to Ortiz, it is believed that Miami did not appreciate his comments before the game, with the Monterrey boss claiming the referees would favour the MLS side.

In the build-up, Ortiz said: “Everything that surrounds Messi can lead to sporting and non-sporting decisions being made.

“Obviously, I don’t know if it will harm us, but the business is not for us. Sportingly, we are going to win. Afterwards, I can’t handle other things.”

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