“He will continue to play” – Inter Miami Coach Confirms Lionel Messi Will Play US Open Cup Semi-Final

Lionel Messi Joined MLS Side Inter Miami In July
Lionel Messi Joined MLS Side Inter Miami In July

Inter Miami manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has revealed that Lionel Messi will take to the field in the Herons’ US Open Cup semi-final clash against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday (August 23).

Lionel Messi has been firing on all cylinders since joining Inter Miami as a free agent on July 15. Over the last five weeks, the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner has appeared in seven matches, scoring a staggering 10 times and claiming an assist. His exploits propelled Miami to their first silverware on Saturday (August 19), with them beating Nashville SC in the Leagues Cup final.

Martino confirms Lionel Messi’s involvement in upcoming Inter Miami game

It was feared that Martino could rest the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner in the US Open Cup semi-final against Cincinnati, having deployed him consecutively in the last seven matches. The Argentine tactician, however, has alleviated such concerns, stating that Messi will continue to play for as long as possible.

Speaking to the press on Monday, the former Barcelona manager said (via The Daily Mail):

“We said that at some point he would have to rest because of the load of minutes played.

“Clearly, Wednesday is not going to be that day. If he does not tell me he wants to rest, he will continue to play.”

Martino also talked about Miami’s unexpected run to the Leagues Cup trophy, admitting that he did not expect his team to come out on top in the tournament.

He added:

“We didn’t think we would be so competitive at this tournament because our team was still under construction.”

“But, well, we ended up competing and winning and that has made us very happy and optimistic for what is to come.”

Messi moving rapidly up Miami’s all-time top scorers’ list

Although it may seem absurd, Messi has indeed become the third-leading scorer in Inter Miami’s history. Having played just seven games, Messi has scored 10 times, surpassing Robert Taylor as the club’s third-leading scorer. The former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star now requires only seven goals to overtake Miami’s second-leading scorer of all time, Leonardo Campana (16 goals in 52 games).

Once he moves past Campana, he will have a clear shot at his compatriot and the club’s record goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain, who scored 29 times in 70 matches for Miami. Considering Messi manages to remain fit and continues firing on all cylinders, it would not be surprising to see him surpass Higuain’s record by the end of the current campaign.

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