Lionel Messi could miss Inter Miami’s clash with New York Red Bulls in March, with world champions Argentina announcing they will go on a two-game tour of China.
The Argentina captain has scored 11 goals in his 14 appearances since joining Inter Miami in June as a free agent and is preparing to take on his first full season in Major League Soccer.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
Argentina’s Football Association (AFA) have announced the 2022 World Cup winners will play Nigeria in Hangzhou before travelling to Beijing to face Ivory Coast. The games will act as warmup matches before they play at the 2024 Copa América, to be held in the United States in June.
Although exact dates for the friendly matches are yet to be announced, AFA said they will be played in the international window between March 18-26.
Inter Miami, who finished 14th in the Eastern Conference standings last season and missed out on the playoffs, are scheduled to face D.C. United in MLS on March 16 and the Red Bulls on March 23.
Should Messi be included in Argentina’s travelling squad, he could return in time for Inter Miami’s home league game against New York City FC on March 30.
ESPN has reached out to Inter Miami for comment.
Messi has said he is keen to continue playing for Argentina and is expected to captain the Albiceleste at this summer’s Copa América.
With the MLS regular season continuing uninterrupted while the tournament takes place across June and July in the United States, Messi will miss more club games.
The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner could miss at least five MLS games for Inter Miami while the tournament takes place.