Lionel Messi ‘walks around all game’, says Alexi Lalas, as he questions claims the Inter Miami star needs to be rested before MLS debut in New York
Alexi Lalas has questioned claims that Lionel Messi might need a rest ahead of his first Major League Soccer appearance.
Messi played 120 minutes on Wednesday night in Inter Miami’s US Open Cup semifinal win on penalties over Cincinnati and afterwards, coach Tata Martino suggested he needs to manage the minutes the superstar plays.
It comes ahead of Messi’s impending first appearance in Major League Soccer itself with Inter Miami facing the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull arena on Saturday night.
‘Load management? Messi walks around most of the game!’ Lalas said on Twitter on Thursday, before a fan asked him if it was a response to the standard of the games he has been playing.
‘Don’t be so insecure.’ Lalas said. ‘Messi has always walked…until it’s time not to walk.’
Alexi Lalas has hit back at claims Lionel Messi needs a rest ahead of his potential MLS debut
Lalas was talking about Messi on Twitter and praising his impact with Inter Miami
His comments came shortly after paying tribute to the World Cup winner’s phenomenal impact on soccer in the United States.
‘The Messi Miami train keeps rolling,’ Lalas said. ‘8 games, 10 goals, undefeated, and led his team to a trophy and 2 finals.
‘If you can’t find joy in this or you find a way to crap on it, you need to seek help. Also, he has yet to score or win and game in MLS and his team is in last place.’
Lalas was referring to Miami’s desperate bid to make the playoffs. The team is 15th – last – in the MLS Eastern Conference – and currently 13 points off the playoff places.
Miami coach Martino said he had to be mindful of Messi’s minutes with another run of three games in seven days approaching.
‘Leo and many other players are reaching an important physical limit and from today we will start to evaluate this – how do I face at least the next three games,’ Martino said after Wednesday’s dramatic victory over Cincinnati.
After the Red Bulls game Saturday, they have a rematch against Nashville after winning the Leagues Cup in Tennessee at the weekend.
Then, on September 3, they meet MLS Cup holder LAFC.