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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Will Messi play against Monterrey today? Coach Martino reveals

Inter Miami coach Martino delays final word on Lionel Messi's fitness for today's match against Monterrey in CONCACAF Champions Cup

By Web Desk
April 03, 2024
Inter Miami wait for Messis status for Monterrey clash today. (Leo Messi for Inter Miami. — AFP)
Inter Miami wait for Messi's status for Monterrey clash today. (Leo Messi for Inter Miami. — AFP)

Inter Miami's star player, Lionel Messi, is battling a hamstring injury and has not played in weeks.

The club has not taken any decision about his participation in the upcoming CONCACAF Champions Cup quarter-final first-leg match against Monterrey.

Miami needs Messi on the field as Monterrey is a tough opponent.

Miami coach Gerardo Martino confirmed Messi's uncertain status on the eve of the home match.

Messi has been absent from Miami's last three MLS matches due to his injury. However, he was seen practising with his teammates on Tuesday morning. This sparked hope among fans that he might be fit to play for the first time since Miami's victory over Nashville on March 13.

"Tomorrow we'll decide. Today, I don't know," Martino said.

"He trained today, yes. There are still 24 hours left. Tomorrow we'll decide."

Martino is cautious about risking Messi, an eight-time Ballon d'Or winner, for the sake of a Cup victory.

"The main thing is Leo's injury and managing the times of that injury," Martino said.

"While it's true we play a very important game tomorrow, you have to realize we're in the beginning of April, everything is just getting started.

"What we can't do is put our players' physical condition at risk We'll decide what's best for Leo."

Meanwhile, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez has been performing well for Miami, with impressive stats in both MLS and Cup matches.

"We know we're going to suffer, we're going to struggle because (Monterrey) have their strengths," Suarez said.

"But we have to be prepared for those moments. And whoever plays best over 180 minutes will advance."

The second leg of the match will be held in Mexico on April 10.

Monterrey currently leads the Mexican league alongside Club America. The club has players like Spain's Sergio Canales and former Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez.

Despite injuries in the team, Martino remains optimistic. "We have to face tomorrow's game without any type of excuse," Martino said. "You all know the reality but we are in conditions to compete and compete well even with the injuries."