Inter Miami gears up for season opener with Messi and Suarez declared fit

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Lionel Messi

21st February 2024 – (Miami) As the Major League Soccer season kickstarts, Inter Miami fans can anticipate the presence of footballing luminaries Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, with manager Gerardo Martino confirming their readiness for the inaugural match against Real Salt Lake City. The much-anticipated Wednesday night’s game at the newly christened Chase stadium in Fort Lauderdale will see the former Barcelona stalwarts potentially taking the field, though their inclusion in the starting lineup remains at the manager’s discretion.

“Both Messi and Suarez are prepared to feature in the match, and should the game demand their participation for the full duration, we will consider that based on our strategic needs,” stated Martino during the pre-match press briefing.

The run-up to the season has not been without its challenges, as Messi grappled with an adductor strain that curtailed his involvement in the pre-season engagements. Suarez, on the other hand, has successfully recuperated from a knee complaint that had cast doubts over his early-season availability.

The duo, part of a quartet of ex-Barcelona talent including defender Jordi Alba and midfielder Sergio Busquets, are all reportedly fit to play after navigating through their respective injury setbacks.

The sole concern for the Florida-based side is the fitness of Argentine defender Nicolas Freire, who is battling a leg muscle injury. “While Freire’s situation is under evaluation, we have yet to rule out his participation. We are in discussions with our medical team to assess the potential risks,” Martino elucidated.

Last season saw Inter Miami finish in an underwhelming 14th place within the Eastern Conference, managing only nine victories from 37 outings. However, with a spate of high-profile acquisitions such as Messi and Suarez, the club, co-owned by football legend David Beckham, has its sights set on a transformative championship challenge.

Martino, however, tempers the heightened expectations with a focus on the immediate challenge posed by Real Salt Lake City. “Our preparations account for all possible tactics our opponents might employ, whether they opt for an aggressive press or choose to hold back. We are bracing ourselves for any eventuality,” he said. “We’re confident in our ability to respond appropriately and feel we are in excellent form for the commencement of the season.”