Inter Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino has given an update on talisman Lionel Messi’s fitness as the superstar faces a fight to play in their upcoming final.


The Vice City boss has confirmed that an issue surrounding some “old scar tissue” is troubling the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. As the Eastern Conference outfit looks to keep their MLS playoffs hopes alive, the ex-Barcelona boss confirmed his captain is being evaluated daily.

The Argentine has been struggling in recent weeks, with the the intensity of the Herons’ schedule having seemingly caught up with him. After leading his new team to glory in the Leagues Cup, his availability has been limited for both club and country since then.


After being withdrawn from the action following his free-kick winner versus Ecuador for Argentina earlier this month, his fitness has been in question. Following on from this scare, he sat out of the nation’s subsequent World Cup qualifier versus Bolivia, filling in as an assistant coach instead.

His woes on that front did not end upon his return from international duty either, as he first sat out of Miami’s clash with Atlanta United. Then, Vice City were landed with a further blow as their star man was hooked from the action against Toronto after just 37 minutes.


Speaking further on the subject of Messi’s fitness issues, as well as the health of fellow key performer Jordi Alba, Martino confirmed that the duo will miss the next game versus Orlando. The ex-Spain captain was also substituted before half-time in the game against Toronto.

Speaking ahead of the away trip to face their neighbours, the Vice City head coach said: “Neither Alba nor he (Messi) are taken into account for Sunday. I haven’t spoken to Leo since the game, but it seems to me that his experience gives him the ability, even within a game, to know when to stop, when to say enough, when to take precautions.

And it seems very prudent to me that, at this point of his career, he exercises it more than ever because we want to see Leo on the fields much more time and I have to help him. It is good for me that he becomes aware that there are moments in which we have to stop.
Explaining the problem currently plaguing his dressing room leader Messi, the ex-Argentina manager added: “The annoying scar, I don’t know if it hurts, maybe it’s something much more medical.”
Inter Miami face state rivals Orlando City with their playoff chances hanging in the balance as the regular season edges towards the finish line. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, franchise sit five points off Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United in the final qualification berth – having played two games less.