Messi was given rest due to a right hamstring injury

Lionel Messi. — AFP File

Lionel Messi, the renowned Inter Miami star, could not play in the recent match against D.C. United. He stayed back at his South Florida residence due to injury.

Meantime, Luis Suárez, the 37-year-old striker from Uruguay and Messi’s compatriot in Major League Soccer, won the hearts of spectators with his brilliant performance on the field Saturday afternoon at Audi Field.

Luis Suarez netted two goals within 23 minutes of being on the field and led Inter Miami to a 3-1 victory.

He came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute. Suárez wasted no time and found the back of the net within ten minutes of his appearance. He further solidified his team’s position with a goal in the 85th minute, and ultimately ensured Inter Miami’s win.

Reflecting on Suárez’s contribution, Inter Miami coach Tata Martino remarked, “He had about 30 minutes in the game, and he defined the game.” Suárez continues to have stellar form in MLS, with six goals and five assists in seven games across all competitions.

Messi was given rest due to a right hamstring injury. He could not play after his second match of the 2024 MLS season.

With two upcoming fixtures for Argentina later in the month, Martino underscored the importance of prioritising Messi’s fitness to ensure his availability for Inter Miami’s Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinal clash against Monterrey from LIGA MX in early April.

“We’ll continuously evaluate what he’s doing. The objective is for him to arrive to be able to play in the quarterfinals of Concacaf Champions Cup,” said Martino, underlining the cautious approach towards Messi’s recovery. “We don’t want to take a risk.”