Is Lionel Messi playing for Inter Miami against Vancouver Whitecaps tomorrow?

DC United v Inter Miami CF
Inter Miami star Lionel Messi. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi has been rested and will not feature when Inter Miami travel to face Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer (MLS) on Saturday, May 25. The Herons have decided to rest Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets as well along with the Argentina superstar.

Inter Miami come into the game on the back of a narrow 1-0 victory over DC United in their previous fixture thanks to a late Leonardo Campana strike. Messi returned to the playing XI after missing a game due to a knee injury.

Inter Miami, however, will now once again have to do it all with Lionel Messi. Manager Gerardo Martino has confirmed Messi, Suarez, and Busquets' absence from the side and has defended his decision despite the backlash received from Vancouver Whitecaps fans.

Speaking to the reporters, Gerardo Martino was quoted as saying the following (via ESPN):

"We trained yesterday. When we finished, I conferred with the coaching staff and talked with the players, and at that moment we decided that they would not form part of the team."

He added:

"We understand the people's frustration, especially in wanting to see these players, but it is our job as the coaching staff to make these decisions that are uncomfortable. We understand what these players provoke in the league and other markets, but we have to take these measures that are sometimes unpleasant for people. But they are beneficial for the players."

Martino does have enough firepower up front to replace Messi and Suarez for a game. The likes of Leonardo Campana, Robert Taylor, and Matias Rojas are all capable of taking positions in attack to trouble the opposition.

Following their win against DC United, Miami maintained their place at the top of the Eastern Conference. They have accumulated 31 points from 15 points and are a point clear of second-placed FC Cincinnati who do have a game in hand.

Vancouver Whitecaps, on the other hand, are seventh in the Western Conference. They have accumulated 19 points from 17 games.

Lionel Messi has already missed five games for Inter Miami in MLS this season

Lionel Messi has made an incredible start to his first full season in the United States but has missed a total of five games due to injuries. The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner missed four games in the league due to a muscular injury and then a game earlier this month due to a knee issue.

Inter Miami have struggled in Lionel Messi's absence this season. In the five MLS matches without him, the Floridian side have lost and drawn two and won just once. The defeats included a 4-0 hammering at the hands of New York Red Bulls back in March.

Lionel Messi otherwise has had an excellent season so far for Inter Miami. The former Barcelona superstar has contributed 10 goals and nine assists from 10 matches in the MLS so far.

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