Lionel Messi was forced off in just the 37th minute of Inter Miami’s clash with Toronto FC but his Argentine teammate Facundo Farias stepped up to the plate.
The DRV PNK Stadium were stunned on Wednesday (September 20) when Messi trudged off the pitch after suffering a muscle injury. The Argentine icon was making his first appearance for the Herons since representing La Abiceleste in the international break.
Gerardo Martino’s men were handed an almighty first-half headache as both Messi and Jordi Alba went off injured. The last time the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner didn’t play for Inter Miami they suffered a 5-2 to Atlanta United.
However, it would be Messi’s Argentine teammate Faris who would step up in his absence in the 45+3rd minute. The 21-year-old pounced on a poor parry from Toronto goalkeeper Tomas Romero and smashed a fierce volley into the back of the net.
You can watch Faris’ superb strike below:
Lionel Messi sat in the dugout, as Farias put his side in the lead. He would have liked what he’d seen from the attacking midfielder but his frustrations were clear regarding the knock he picked up.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has made a scintillating start to life at Inter Miami. He has bagged 11 goals and five assists in 12 games across competitions but couldn’t last more than 37 minutes on his return.
Facundo Farias compares himself to Neymar rather than Inter Miami skipper Lionel Messi
Farias is regarded as one of Inter Miami’s most promising talents, joining the Herons from Argentine outfit Colón Athletic Club in the summer. He has bagged three goals in seven games across competitions since arriving at DRV PNK.
Many may expect the young attacking midfielder to try and replicate Argentina hero Lionel Messi. However, he compares himself to the World Cup winner’s former Paris Saint-Germain teammate. He said when being presented as a new Miami player (via GOAL):
“I am an aggressive midfielder, front, always forward. I identify with Neymar. I don’t identify with Leo, but he is the idol of all Argentines.”
Neymar is viewed as one of Brazil’s greatest ever talents and he recently became his national team’s all-time record goalscorer. He has bagged 79 goals in 126 caps for Selecao, eclipsing the late great Pele’s record of 77 goals.
The new Al Hilal superstar spent the last two years playing alongside Messi at PSG. The pair hold a fond relationship as they also were part of a Barcelona side that dominated Europe this past decade.