Lionel Messi is ‘tired’, claims Inter Miami coach Tata Martino

The Argentine has only played two matches in the new season so far

By Web Desk
March 01, 2024
Inter Miami's star forward Lionel Messi. — X/@InterMiami

Inter Miami boss Tata Martino suggested that Lionel Messi might already be feeling fatigued, indicating that the Argentine star expended 'too much energy' during the team's initial two MLS matches after undergoing a demanding tour of Asia to prepare for the new season.

On Friday, the Herons' manager emphasised the need for Messi's teammates to deliver better support play to the 36-year-old if they hope to maximise his impact this year.

"Tata Martino said Lionel Messi has expended too much energy first two games, aim is for the rest of the team to move ball better so he can focus on finalizing goals and preserving some energy for long season ahead," Michelle Kaufman, of The Miami Herald, reported.

Martino's observation holds merit, especially considering that Inter Miami is slated to compete in up to five tournaments this season: the MLS regular season, MLS Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, Leagues Cup, and US Open Cup.

Moreover, Messi is anticipated to feature prominently throughout the MLS regular season due to the league's new £2.5 billion, 10-year agreement with Apple TV.

In contrast to his typical pre-seasons with Barcelona and PSG, the 2022 World Cup winner didn't exhibit his usual physical peak during Inter Miami's arduous global tour in 2023, encompassing visits to South and Central America, the Middle East, and Asia.

He sustained an adductor injury in the Herons' 4-3 loss to Al-Hillal, which resulted in him being relegated to the bench for the team's subsequent 6-0 defeat against Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr, although the Portuguese star was absent from that fixture due to a calf problem.

Following Messi's non-appearance due to injury in Miami's 4-1 victory against Hong Kong XI, fans clamoured for refunds, perplexed by the uncertainty surrounding whether he would feature from the bench. Messi explained that he didn't feel fit enough to participate during warm-ups, leading to financial losses for the game's organisers.

Three days after his absence in the former British colony, Messi entered the fray in the second half of Miami's encounter with Vissel Kobe, a J1 League team, in Japan, further frustrating fans in Hong Kong.

Messi did feature in Inter Miami's subsequent pre-season game, a 1-1 draw against Newell's - his hometown club - offering a glimmer of hope to Herons supporters at the time.

He then played the entire duration of the club's inaugural MLS match of the season - a 2-0 triumph over Real Salt Lake - even notching his first assist of the campaign for Robert Taylor's goal.

In Miami's subsequent fixture - a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy - Messi played the full 90 minutes and secured his maiden MLS goal of the season in the closing stages of the match.