Miami Coach Martino Suggests Messi Could See Rest in Upcoming Red Bulls Match


Lionel Messi, a key player in Miami’s victorious Leagues Cup journey, as well as their recent US Open Cup semi-final win against Cincinnati, might see a break in the upcoming match against the Red Bulls. Coach Martino addressed questions about Messi’s potential participation in Miami’s first regular-season MLS game since his arrival.

Martino shared, “We’ll decide after Friday night’s training and discussions with the players. They’ve had a chance to rest since the Cincinnati game and had a light training session at the hotel.” With high demand for tickets to Saturday’s game at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, fans would undoubtedly be disappointed if Messi were to sit out.

Nevertheless, Martino emphasized that external expectations won’t sway his decisions. “I know the world wants to see him play, that’s undeniable,” he acknowledged. “But I can’t let that dictate my choices. My main concern is whether he’s fit to play.”

However, Martino hinted that convincing Messi to rest might not be an easy task, given the player’s strong desire to be on the field for every game. “Throughout his career, he’s always wanted to play every match. Sometimes, we’ve had to persuade him to take a break for recovery purposes. Still, I won’t be influenced by external pressures when deciding his playing time,” Martino noted. He has previously coached Messi during their time at Barcelona and with the Argentine national team.

Messi recently played a full 120 minutes in Miami’s win against Cincinnati, displaying some signs of fatigue along with former Barcelona teammates Busquets and Alba. Miami’s schedule remains packed, with another game against Nashville scheduled for Wednesday.

“With the league schedule resuming after all the cup matches, including the Leagues Cup final and the U.S. Open Cup semi-final, we’re in a demanding situation. We’ve had a lot to handle over the past month and a half, so we need to assess the players’ condition,” Martino explained. He further added that some players ended the Cincinnati game with minor injuries and fatigue, which will be considered while selecting the squad for Saturday’s match.

While Miami is currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they’re hopeful that Messi’s impact in the next 12 games can help them secure a top-nine finish and a spot in the playoffs.

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