Lionel Messi isn’t ready to take a break just yet.
Messi, after Inter Miami’s remarkable run to win the Leagues Cup this month, is set to start Wednesday in the team’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal, coach Gerardo Martino confirmed Monday.
Wednesday’s match against FC Cincinnati will mark Miami’s sixth in the past 22 days.
“We said that at some point he would have to rest because of the load of minutes played,” Martino said, via ESPN. “Clearly, Wednesday is not going to be that day. If he does not tell me he wants to rest, he will continue to play.”
While there’s some concern that the workload could become an issue for the 36-year-old star, Miami has no plans to rest Messi until after Wednesday’s match at the earliest.
Messi has absolutely dominated since he joined Inter Miami this summer. He scored his 10th goal in just seven matches with the club in a win over Nashville on Saturday. The Leagues Cup championship win was Inter Miami’s first trophy of any kind and concluded a wild turnaround for Major League Soccer’s worst club.
“We didn’t think we would be so competitive at this tournament because our team was still under construction,” Martino said, via ESPN. “But, well, we ended up competing and winning, and that has made us very happy and optimistic for what is to come.”
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami will take on FC Cincinnati on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. (Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)
FC Cincinnati will host Miami on Wednesday, and the winner of that match will take on either Real Salt Lake or the Houston Dynamo in the championship next month.
After Wednesday’s match, Messi will finally make his MLS debut when Miami takes on the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. The squad will close out the month with a rematch against Nashville next week.
Although Miami is at the bottom of MLS’s Eastern Conference standings, with just 18 points in 22 matches, the club has the second-best odds to win MLS Cup with 12 games left in the regular season.
While the Argentine star is sure to rest at some point in the near future, he seems perfectly fine so far in Miami. And if the club is going to make a real run down the stretch, Messi will have to be at the center of it.