Lionel Messi’s time with Inter Miami and Major League Soccer is dwindling to an end this year.
But business continues to boom as usual for the world’s best soccer player.
Messi debuted a new kids’ menu with Hard Rock Café on Monday, while Apple TV+ announced this month the world debut of his new docuseries “Messi Meets America."
Still, the burning question of Messi’s playing status — with four Inter Miami games and two potential matches with Argentina this month — remains.
Messi is still considered day to day with a lingering leg injury ahead of Inter Miami's trip to face Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday night.
“We will see in the training, if we are running any type of risk and will evaluate if it’s convenient for him to travel or not,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said after Tuesday’s practice, which Messi participated in.
Did Messi travel with Inter Miami to Chicago?
Messi was not included in Inter Miami’s social media post Tuesday as the club posted pre-flight photos of members of the team.
It may not be a true answer, but it could offer some indication of Messi's status for the match. Messi did not travel for Inter Miami matches against Atlanta and Orlando last month.
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) October 3, 2023
What else did Inter Miami’s coach say about Messi?
Understandably, Inter Miami has felt displeasure from ticket buyers who have been unable to see Messi in action due to his injury.
Messi has missed four of his last five games, and Martino has repeated Messi’s day-to-day status with each passing media availability.
“If it doesn't happen, it would be taken as, ‘Well, today I look like the biggest ticket seller in the MLS. It might have something to do with the sale of tickets,' But no, we are concerned about the players,” Martino said. “I make a very serious mistake if I say something hastily. That's why I avoid exact times. I understand your desire to know the exact times, but if I had the exact times I would say so, but I don't have them either.”
'Hard Rock Messi Kids Menu' launches
Messi’s partnership with Hard Rock continued with an announcement of a new kids' menu Monday at Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium.
Messi, wearing a chef’s coat, answered some questions for at least 120 children sitting in front of a stage. He spent some time with the children on Inter Miami’s pitch shortly after the presentation.
“The most important thing is to try what you want to do and with hard work, effort, sacrifice, the reward will come,” Messi said when asked by a child about being a champion like him. “Sometimes the path is difficult, but we must never stop trying and fighting for our dreams. I do it. I did throughout my career.”
Messi’s menu will be available at all participating Hard Rock Cafes and select Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos worldwide. The Messi X Burger, the Messi Golden Chicken Sandwich and other kid-friendly options are on the menu. A complimentary mini golden soccer ball toy, a collectable poster, activity sheet and stickers come with every meal.
Leo Messi makes these kids go ABSOLUTELY NUTS.
“The Hard Rock Messi Kids Menu” launches today at all participating Hard Rock Cafes and select Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos worldwide. @InterMiamiCF @HardRock pic.twitter.com/cHaNM8trnD
— Safid Deen 💯💯💯💯 (@Safid_Deen) October 2, 2023
'Messi Meets America' Apple TV documentary
“Messi Meets America” will premiere its first three episodes worldwide Oct. 11 on Apple TV+.
Here's the trailer, which was released Monday:
The next chapter begins.
Messi Meets America premieres October 11. pic.twitter.com/uJ98mRCtQi
— Apple TV (@AppleTV) October 2, 2023
The documentary “chronicles Leo’s immersion in America, the remarkable journey and transformation of Inter Miami CF, and most significantly, the impact he is currently having on soccer in North America,” according to a news release.
Portions of the documentary are still being filmed as Messi’s first season with Inter Miami winds to an end.
Will Messi join Argentina again for World Cup qualifying?
Messi could travel and/or participate with Argentina for two World Cup qualifying matches in mid-October.
It’s hard to imagine Messi passing up an opportunity to play in front of his home fans when Argentina hosts Paraguay Oct. 12 in Estadio Mas Monumental in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Argentina will also play Peru Oct. 17 in Estadio Nacional de Lima in Lima, Peru.
The last time Messi played was…
Messi’s last game at full strength was with Argentina Sept. 7, when he scored a free kick in the 78th minute to lead to a 1-0 win over Ecuador in Buenos Aires. Messi asked to leave the game in the 89th minute.
Messi tried to play in Inter Miami’s match against Toronto FC Sept. 20, but left after 37 minutes of action.
Where does Inter Miami stand in the MLS playoff race?
Inter Miami has 33 points in the Eastern Conference standings with four matches remaining.
Inter Miami is ranked 13th out of 15 teams, but only four points away from the ninth and final playoff spot, where Montreal sits with 37 points.
What is Inter Miami's remaining 2023 schedule?
Oct. 4: at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 7: vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 18: vs. Charlotte FC, 8 p.m. ET
Oct. 21: at Charlotte FC, 6 p.m. ET
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Will Messi play in Chicago? Here's the latest on injury, documentary