Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi will not play vs Charlotte FC – Here’s why

Inter Miami Messi Charlotte FC

Lionel Messi might be only two games old in the MLS, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. The Argentine star took over the league by storm with a last-minute free kick in his Inter Miami debut. He followed it up with a trademark all-round performance in the second game with two goals and an assist. However, it seems Lionel Messi will not be part of the Inter Miami squad that plays against Charlotte FC for a bizarre reason. Let’s find out why. 

Why will Lionel Messi miss the Charlotte FC game?

In the ongoing MLS season, Inter Miami has two games scheduled against Charlotte FC in the coming months: a home fixture on 20 August and an away fixture on 21 October. Lionel Messi will most likely miss out on the latter game at the Bank of America stadium.

And it seems as if the stadium is the reason behind Messi’s decision to skip the match against Charlotte FC. Their home ground features a turf field made up of artificial grass in contrast to real grass used in most major football stadiums around the world. 

The team officials announced that all of their MLS games will be played on the turf and that they will not make any exceptions. From their statement, it is clear that no player will receive special treatment, even if they happen to be the greatest of all time.

Lionel Messi has not confirmed his absence from the Charlotte FC game. It is important to note that it is the last game of their season, and Messi’s addition to the team would drastically improve Miami’s chances of an away win.

Charlotte FC’s MLS turf rule explained

Alongside Atlanta United FC, Charlotte FC is one of two teams in the MLS which use artificial turf over regular grass. MLS Commissioner Don Garber was optimistic that the teams would make accommodations for Messi, given his towering status as a game legend.

But the final decision remains with the clubs, and it’s unlikely that Charlotte FC will go back on their word. However, changing turf to grass temporarily still cannot be completely ruled out.

In the recent past, Charlotte FC switched the turf to grass for a friendly match against Premier League side Chelsea. The Bank of America Stadium again used grass for two Gold Cup matches earlier this month. 

However, given the importance of the match against Miami on a competitive level, Charlotte will try not to give them any advantage to secure all the points they need.

Messi’s arrival leads to the upper deck opening

While the grass request may not be granted, Messi’s arrival in the MLS led to other decisions in his favor. His announcement sparked off a massive demand for tickets among all clubs. As a result, Charlotte FC opened the upper deck in the Bank of America stadium. 

The cheapest tickets for the Inter Miami match are from the upper deck, costing $150. The lower deck tickets are entirely sold out and cost in a high resale range between $300 and $1000.

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