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Messi's Return to Inter Miami Ends in Playoff Heartbreak

 Messi's Return to Inter Miami Ends in Playoff Heartbreak

Messi's Return to Inter Miami Ends in Playoff Heartbreak
Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF and Obinna Nwobodo #5 of FC Cincinnati battle for the ball during the second half at DRV PNK Stadium on October 07, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida(Image-Getty) 

Lionel Messi made a highly anticipated return to the pitch for Inter Miami, where he had been embraced by adoring fans and the promise of a transformed season once seemed imminent. However, the reality turned out to be far from the fairy tale.

The evening began with excitement as fans eagerly documented Messi's presence with their camera phones and paid homage to the football legend. However, this enthusiasm was short-lived. After 35 uneventful minutes and a goal from FC Cincinnati, Miami's hopes of making it to the MLS playoffs were dashed.

What was supposed to be a triumphant chapter in Messi's career had been deflated by a mysterious injury that kept him out of action for four games. Miami had been on a gradual upward trajectory before Messi's arrival, but with his uncertain status, their progress slowed and ultimately ground to a halt.

The rainy evening in Miami became a symbolic backdrop for the disappointment that unfolded on the field. Messi, starting on the bench, entered the game in the 55th minute with the daunting task of scoring to keep Miami's playoff dreams alive. Instead, he sent two free kicks over the crossbar and seemed to lack his usual magic and agility.

Prior to Messi's entrance, Inter Miami had hit the post three times in the first half but failed to find the back of the net. With Messi on the field, expectations were high, but the team faltered, and Cincinnati managed to break the deadlock.

In other parts of the league, Montreal, the New York Red Bulls, and D.C. United secured victories, officially extinguishing Miami's playoff aspirations.

The journey had been an uphill battle ever since Messi's much-celebrated arrival in July. When he joined, Inter Miami was struggling, sitting near the bottom of the Eastern conference with a winless streak in league play. However, Messi's presence led to a remarkable transformation, with the club winning the Leagues Cup and the U.S. Open Cup.

But Messi's injury setback in early September disrupted the team's momentum. Despite hopes for his return, he played only a total of 72 minutes of soccer. Miami faced a series of defeats in his absence, including losing the Open Cup final and crucial MLS matches.

As Messi's return to action was eagerly awaited, fans sensed that the end of their playoff dreams was approaching. FC Cincinnati, as the top seed in the Eastern conference, was determined to avoid facing the football legend in the first round of the playoffs and effectively ended Miami's season.

Messi's journey will now take him to South America for World Cup qualifiers with Argentina. His absence will impact Miami's remaining games, and his first MLS campaign, which began with great anticipation, will conclude on a somber note, marked by an uncharacteristic injury-induced setback.

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