Lionel Messi and Inter Miami’s game against the New York Red Bulls will be shown live in Times Square tonight – but the superstar might NOT be playing from the start!
- Lionel Messi had an amazing impact on American football at Inter Miami
- But he could start as a substitute for the New York Red Bulls game on Saturday.
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami game against the New York Red Bulls will be shown live in Times Square on Saturday night – although the superstar may not be playing.
The 36-year-old is set to make his first Major League Soccer appearance in the Big Apple – all of his games in Miami so far have been cup matches – but there is huge uncertainty over his start.
MLS and the Red Bulls announced the broadcast from Times Square on social media, with Messi appearing on the billboard and the caption: “A massive game in MLS needs a giant screen.”
But Miami coach Tata Martino has repeatedly suggested Messi – who has scored 10 goals in his first eight Miami games – could be rested due to how many times he has already played and the schedule in charge of the team.
Speaking on Friday, he said: “I understand the expectations the rest of the world has of him, and there’s no denying that. But I cannot act on this basis, because then I would risk doing things wrong.
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami’s game against the New York Red Bulls will be shown live in Times Square
But there is uncertainty that Messi will play from the start of the game in New York.
Coach Tata Martino has strongly hinted that Messi could be a substitute for Saturday’s game.
Messi played 120 minutes as Miami beat Cincinnati on penalties on Wednesday night and last weekend he played the entire game as his side beat Nashville on penalties to win the League Cup.
Speaking after that game in midweek, Martino said: “Leo and many other players are reaching an important physical limit and from today we will start to assess that: how can I face at least the next three games.”
“You also have to take into account the large number of games we have played in 45, 50 days.”
Nashville has a chance for revenge on Wednesday when the two teams meet in Miami. Messi will then travel to California next weekend for a tough game against MLS Cup holders LAFC.
Despite all the success Miami has had in the cups since Messi’s arrival, they return to the MLS season in an awful position.
The team is last in the Eastern Conference, 14 points from playoff berths but with two games in hand over the ninth and last-placed Chicago Fire.
There’s so little room for error for Miami – they basically need to win every game in the league from now on to stand a chance – but Martino might see this game against the Red Bulls as the best option going forward for that Messi rests.
The Red Bulls sit 11th in the MLS Eastern Conference, while Nashville is sixth and LAFC is second in the Western Conference.
There would, however, be many extremely unhappy fans if Messi didn’t play from the start.
Tickets for Saturday night’s match sold for over $500, with some on the resale site costing thousands of euros before news broke about Messi’s status.