- Argentine missed MLS clash against Atlanta
- Miami thumped 5-2 away from home
- Lalas mocked Messi and fired playoff warning
WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine was left out by Tata Martino after the Inter Miami boss saw him pick up a slight knock while on World Cup qualifying duty with Argentina. Without their talismanic forward, the Herons failed to produce the goods and suffered a disappointing 5-2 loss on the road in their latest MLS fixture. There were signs that Messi would be left out of the squad as he was spotted enjoying a pizza from Bancheros Miami, hours before kick-off, which had a base covered with chopped tomatoes, onions and olives.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or was heavily criticised by fans on social media over his choice of topping and Lalas has now joined the bandwagon. The former USMNT player not only took a sarcastic dig at Messi for his rather absurd pizza choice, but he also fired a warning about a potential playoff spot as Miami currently find themselves down in 14th spot in the Eastern Conference table.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Messi has proven to be the difference when he plays for Inter MiamiCF," Lalas wrote on X. "(The) Club’s responsibility is to do everything to make the playoffs. Maybe it’s a “lose the battle win the war” situation. But if Miami misses playoffs by a few points, it’s a bad look. Hope he enjoyed the pizza."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi's absence proved to be costly as Miami suffered their first defeat in 12 games. Jordi Alba was also rested as Martino was left sweating over the fitness of his two superstars. Although there were suggestions that the duo were deliberately dropped from the matchday squad due to the artificial turf in Atlanta, the Miami coach insisted that the "field has nothing to do with" his selection.
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IN TWO PHOTOS:(C)Getty ImagesGetty
WHAT NEXT? Messi might be back in action when Miami lock horns with Toronto on Thursday in their next MLS fixture.