MLS Fans Will Have To Wait To See Lionel Messi Make His League Debut

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Lionel Messi‘s move to MLS team Inter Miami has been nothing short of monumental. But fans hoping he would make his league debut against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night may have to wait a little while long.

The legendary seven-time Ballon d’Or winner joined Inter Miami from French club Paris Saint-Germain on July 15.

He made his debut with the club on July 21 as part of the Leagues Cup involving teams from both MLS and Mexico’s LigaMX.

Messi’s impact was immediate, as the last-placed Herons made a shocking run to a League Cup championship with the Argentinian superstar scoring 10 goals in just seven games.

He then played in the US Open Cup semifinal FC Cincinnati, where Inter Miami won on penalty kicks to reach the final.

It wasn’t until Saturday that Inter Miami returned to MLS play, with Messi expected to make his league debut against New York.

But now those plans are on hold.

Inter Miami manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino revealed Friday that Messi’s available for the match with the Red Bulls is in doubt.

“We will assess further after this evening’s training,” Martino said. “It is inevitable that we will not have him at some point.”

Messi played every minute, including extra time, of the team’s last six matches. And Martino says it’s important to manage the 36-year-old’s minutes going forward.

“This will happen at least three times this year, and next year more,” Martino said regarding the potential resting of Messi, either for an entire game or part of one. “We will have to find a solution.”

Martino is familiar with the star forward, having managed him at FC Barcelona and for the Argentine national team. And he says he does not want to risk a potential injury.

“I understand the expectations the rest of the world has to watch him, and that is undeniable,” Martino said. “But I cannot act based on that, because then I would risk doing things wrong.”

Miami’s next MLS game is scheduled for Wednesday, when the Herons welcome Nashville SC to DRV PNK Stadium.