“A big trait of his” – Lionel Messi just as eager to succeed at Inter Miami as he was at Barcelona, says Tata Martino

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Inter Miami boss Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino admitted that Lionel Messi is as determined to succeed today as he was at Barcelona.

Most recently, the 36-year-old World Cup winner scored in his team’s 3-1 second-leg round-of-16 CONCACAF Champions Cup win against Nashville (March 13). Speaking after this tie, which ended 5-3 on aggregate in favor of the Herons, Martino said (via ESPN):

“The number ones maintain throughout their entire career the way they compete and the desire to win regardless of where they play. That is a big trait of his. I’m not saying that it surprises me because this is the third spell that I have managed him.

“But today I still see it in the same way as the first time in Barcelona, the desire to go for everything that falls on his path.”

At Camp Nou, the Argentina captain scored 672 goals in 778 games and won the La Liga title on 10 occasions and the UEFA Champions League thrice. He arrived in Florida in the summer of 2023 after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) ran out.

Since then, Messi has made 18 appearances across competitions for his new club, bagging 15 goals and six assists. He also led Inter Miami to their first-ever trophy last season when they triumphed in the Leagues Cup.

Messi has started the new season well, having notched up three goals and an assist from three MLS appearances. The Barcelona legend’s performances have also helped the Herons to the top of the league standings. They currently have seven points from four matches and lead four teams on goal difference, who all have a game in hand.

Messi, meanwhile, is likely to miss Inter Miami’s trip to DC United for an MLS fixture on Saturday (March 16) due to injury.

Tata Martino shares worrying Lionel Messi news after Nashville win

Lionel Messi in action for Inter MiamiRobert Taylor. Speaking after the match about the Argentine’s availability for the next match, Martino said (via GOAL):

“He is overloaded on the right posterior [leg]. We don’t want to run a risk. We tried to see if he could go for a little longer, but it was bothering him … I imagine that for Saturday’s game (@ DC United) he is not going to be available.”

Messi has had his share of fitness troubles of late and was even given a rest during Inter Miami’s 3-2 loss to Montreal on Sunday (March 10). The table-topping Herons have lost just one game this season, which came in their star player’s absence.

Edited by Aniket Rai

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