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Lionel Messi exits with apparent injury during Inter Miami match against Toronto FC

By Jacob Lev, CNN

(CNN) — Lionel Messi’s return to the pitch was short-lived after the Argentine superstar was subbed off in the 37th minute of Inter Miami’s match against Toronto FC on Wednesday at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Just a few minutes after teammate Jordi Alba was subbed off with an apparent injury, Messi appeared to be experiencing discomfort. He then took off his captain’s armband and placed it on Deandre Yedlin before exiting the match himself.

Messi returned to the bench, where he leaned back in the chair in apparent frustration. He later walked to the locker room with eight minutes of stoppage time remaining in the first half.

“They had to go out. We will evaluate them as the days go by,” Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino said when asked about Messi and Alba at halftime on the Apple TV broadcast.

CNN has sought further details from the team.

Inter Miami would go on to defeat Toronto FC 4-0.

Wednesday’s match marked the first time Messi has played since September 7, when he helped lead Argentina to a victory over Ecuador in a 2026 World Cup qualifying match.

Messi missed the club’s MLS regular season match against Atlanta United last weekend.

A club source told CNN the decision was made to rest the Argentinian World Cup winner due to the number of games he has played since signing for the club in July. The turf field at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium did not play a role in the decision, the source said.

Inter Miami’s next scheduled match is on Sunday against Orlando City SC. The team will then host Houston Dynamo FC in the US Open Cup final on September 27.

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CNN’s Michael Rios contributed to this report.

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