Tata Martino confirms Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez’s availability vs Real Salt Lake

Inter Miami head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has confirmed that former Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will be good to go for his side’s first game of the 2024 season vs Real Salt Lake.

No need to worry Inter Miami fans, Suarez and Messi – along with Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba – are all expected to feature against RSL to kick-off the new season at the newly named Chase Stadium.

Jordi Alba was the only ex-Barcelona player to not pick up a knock on the Herons’ international tour this winter, playing in every preseason game from Saudi Arabia to Japan. Busquets managed just 25 minutes against Vissel Kobe earlier this month due to an ankle problem, Messi saw an old adductor problem rear its ugly head and Suarez’s evergreen knee issues resurfaced.

Messi and Suarez both sat out Miami’s 4-1 triumph over the Hong Kong Team due to their respective injuries and proceeded to play minimal acts against Vissel Kobe and Newell’s Old Boys last week, but Martino revealed that the the trio are set to start against RSL.

“Yes, they are there to play and if the 90 minutes are required. Then we always see this depending on the needs of the team,” Martino told reporters in Spanish ahead of the first MLS regular-season game of 2024.

Salt Lake are a side that shouldn’t be underestimated as head coach Pablo Mastroeni has the likes of Cristian ‘Chicho’ Arango, Anderson Julio and Diego Luna to rely on up front against the Herons.

In the past, we’ve seen many veteran players near the end of their careers join an MLS side to coast to retirement. But Martino explains that his experienced players are fully-focused on the task at hand in south Florida.

“The new one is Luis [Suarez], but in reality I still see them as very committed to the team, to the rest of the squad, excited,” said Martino.

“The truth is that in that sense, from day one we have found the same answer and today the they continue to hold. Coming from them and especially from the rest of the squad, it is not a minor fact. That the rest of the footballers, especially the younger ones, feel the support they give them.”

The 2024 MLS campaign is set to begin on February 21, with Martino’s Miami playing host to RSL to bring in the new season.

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