Social media users are outraged that Lionel Messi is starting on the Inter Miami bench for what may be his MLS debut.

Lionel Messi’s potential MLS debut starting from the bench for Inter Miami has triggered a strong reaction among fans on social media. The decision to have Messi as a substitute comes after he endured a demanding recent schedule, including playing a full 120 minutes against Cincinnati on Wednesday night. The latest international sports news is provided by The anticipation for Messi’s MLS debut had been growing for two months, following his impressive start with Inter Miami. Ticket prices for the match ranged from $400 to $1,200 on secondary-sale websites, and many of the 25,000 spectators at the sold-out Red Bull Arena had hoped to see Messi play a significant part in the game. However, both Messi and Sergio Busquets started on the bench, disappointing the crowd.

Social media platforms buzzed with reactions as soon as it was announced that Messi would begin the game as a substitute. One user sarcastically commented on the disappointment of those who paid $400 to watch an underperforming Miami team, while another shared the disappointment of an Argentinian fan who paid to see Messi play. The absence of Messi from the starting lineup led some fans to express that they wouldn’t be watching the match at all.

Messi eventually made his MLS debut with 30 minutes remaining in the game, scoring a goal to extend Inter Miami’s lead in the 89th minute. Despite the initial disappointment, it’s understandable given that Messi had played a full 120 minutes just a few days earlier in Inter Miami’s US Open Cup semifinal win over Cincinnati. Coach Tata Martino had mentioned the need to manage Messi’s playing time due to his recent exertions. Since joining Inter Miami in July, Messi has been outstanding, featuring in eight undefeated games, contributing 10 goals and three assists. He had already secured his first trophy in America with the Leagues Cup win against Nashville.

Despite their low league position, Inter Miami is set to host the U.S. Open Cup final on September 27, and they have a series of MLS fixtures scheduled before then, including matches against Nashville, LAFC, Sporting KC, Atlanta United, Toronto, and Orlando City.

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