Lionel Messi’s return to the field was short-lived after the Argentine superstar was substituted in the 37th minute of Inter Miami’s match against Toronto FC on Wednesday at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Just minutes after teammate Jordi Alba was substituted with an apparent injury, Messi appeared to be feeling unwell. He then removed his captain’s armband and placed it on Deandre Yedlin before leaving the match himself.
Messi returned to the bench, where he leaned back in the chair in apparent frustration. He then went to the locker room with eight minutes of stoppage time remaining in the first half.
“They had to come out. We will evaluate them as the days go by,” said Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino when asked about Messi and Alba at halftime on the Apple TV show.
CNN has requested more details from the team.
Inter Miami would defeat Toronto FC 4-0.
Wednesday’s match marked the first time Messi had played since September 7, when he helped Argentina to a victory over Ecuador in a 2026 World Cup qualifier.
Messi missed the club’s regular season MLS match against Atlanta United last weekend.
A club source told CNN the decision was made to rest the Argentine World Cup winner due to the number of matches he has played since signing for the club in July. The artificial turf field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta did not play a role in the decision, the source said.
Inter Miami’s next scheduled match is Sunday against Orlando City SC. The team will next host Houston Dynamo FC in the US Open Cup final on September 27.