‘Messi and Suarez are …’: Martino gives fitness update on ex-Barcelona stars | Football News - Hindustan Times

‘Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are …’: Inter Miami head coach Martino gives huge fitness update on ex-Barcelona stars

Feb 21, 2024 07:31 AM IST

Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino gave a huge fitness update on Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Inter Miami begin their MLS season against Real Salt Lake, and fans will be eagerly waiting to see Lionel Messi in action. The Argentine international had an injury-riddled pre-season tour, due to adductor issues as he saw limited game time. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez was out of action due to fitness issues.

Inter Miami CF forward Luis Suarez (9) and forward Lionel Messi (10) ahead of a pre-season match.(USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)
Inter Miami CF forward Luis Suarez (9) and forward Lionel Messi (10) ahead of a pre-season match.(USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

Speaking ahead of their MLS opener, Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino gave a massive fitness update on the 2022 World Cup winner and his former Barcelona teammate. "Messi and Suárez are ready to play, if 90 minutes are required, we will see this depending on the team’s needs," he said.

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Commenting on the match, he said, "We prepare the game in any way to be ready if we come under pressure in build-up or if the rival team sits back. What we usually do is try to have answers for any battle that may arise and we believe that we are going to arrive well for the start of the league tomorrow."

During Miami's pre-season tour, Messi faced criticism in Hong Kong. He left fans utterly disappointed and angry, due to his absence in a friendly. 38,323 fans were present at the stadium and had spent upwards of 1,000 Hong Kong dollars for tickets.

Messi was left on the bench and failed to make a substitute appearance against Hong Kong XI. Meanwhile, even Luis Suarez was benched and didn't play at all. Throughout the second-half, fans chanted "We want Messi" and when it was confirmed that he would not be making an appearance, they began to shout for refunds. Then at the final whistle when Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham tried to thank the spectators for their support, fans jeered and booed at him, with thumbs-down gestures.

Despite his absence, Inter Miami ran riot and sealed a 4-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Robert Taylor, Lawson Sunderland, Leonardo Campana and Ryan Sailo.

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