Lionel Messi made an incredible impact in his Inter Miami debut, coming off the bench and scoring a breathtaking last-minute goal against Cruz Azul. Now, Inter Miami’s head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino has officially announced that Messi will be leading the team as captain in his second appearance. It is highly likely that Messi will also be in the starting lineup for the Leagues Cup match against Atlanta United on Wednesday. However, the amount of time he spends on the field will be contingent on his fitness, as stated by Martino.
Martino confirmed that Lionel Messi will indeed be the captain for Inter Miami in their upcoming match against Atlanta United. He expressed that both Messi and Sergio Busquets are likely to have more playing time, potentially starting the game as well. However, Martino emphasized that their minutes on the field will be determined by their physical condition since it’s only their second game for the team. The head coach shared these details during a press conference held on Monday.
Lionel Messi and his former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets had a reunion on the field during Inter Miami’s thrilling 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul. Both Messi and Busquets came on as substitutes in the second half. The Finnish winger, Robert Taylor, managed to give Inter Miami the lead just a minute before halftime. However, Cruz Azul quickly responded with an equalizer in the 65th minute. In the end, it was Messi who became the hero, rescuing Inter Miami with one of his trademark free-kick goals in the closing moments of the game, securing three crucial points for the Major League Soccer (MLS) team.
Gerardo “Tata” Martino expressed that Lionel Messi’s greatness and his ability to deliver in crucial moments, like the game against Cruz Azul, have become something expected from him. Martino emphasized that sometimes people tend to normalize extraordinary achievements, even though they are not common.
Inter Miami’s Evolution: From Yedlin’s Leadership to Messi’s Arrival and Alba’s Debut
Before Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami, the versatile American right-back DeAndre Yedlin took on the leadership duties for the team when he replaced the injured Brazilian player Gregore back in March.
During his time at Barcelona, Messi frequently wore the captain’s armband, but he was never officially appointed as the skipper during his stint at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). In a significant achievement, Messi led the Argentina football team to victory in the historic FIFA World Cup held in Qatar last year.
In addition to Sergio Busquets, Inter Miami has also secured the signing of former Barcelona defender Jordi Alba. The Spanish international, who had been a part of Barcelona for 11 years, left the club this summer. According to a report from ESPN, Alba arrived in Miami last week, and there is a strong possibility that the 34-year-old may make his debut for the American team in the upcoming Leagues Cup match against Atlanta United.
After securing their fifth domestic league victory last week, Inter Miami is now focused on claiming another win in a potential knockout match against Atlanta United. A single point from their Wednesday’s encounter will be enough for Inter Miami to secure their spot in the Leagues Cup round of 32.