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Inter Miami protect Messi GFXGOAL

Football still needs Lionel Messi, so Inter Miami have a duty to help prolong the GOAT's incredible career amid unprecedented MLS fanfare

"Rest is very important nowadays. As we get older, everything is more difficult," Lionel Messi said when addressing his recent fitness struggles on the 'Big Time' podcast. The Inter Miami superstar has always been refreshingly honest, and demonstrated complete control of his emotions again as he was faced with a series of challenging questions in his latest interview, which aired in Saudi Arabia earlier this week.

“I know that as soon as I believe that I can no longer perform, or no longer enjoy the game, or am not able to help my team-mates, then I will stop,” he added. “I am really self-critical; I know when I am good and when I am bad. So for my retirement, it will not matter what age I am. If I feel good, I will keep playing.”

The 36-year-old has made a strong start to the new MLS campaign, with four goal contributions in his first three appearances, but niggling injuries have disrupted his rhythm. That has been the case throughout Messi's first eight months at DRV PNK Stadium, with fans from all over the world going to great lengths to buy tickets for Miami games, only to be left disappointed.

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Messi is the biggest draw in soccer, and Miami are under enormous pressure to make sure he plays as much as possible, but they have so far prioritised his long-term health over financial gain. It is absolutely vital that does not change, not only for the sake of MLS' continued growth, but for the game as a whole.