The influential presence of the ex-Barcelona triumvirate, Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba, seems to be creating a delightful predicament for Inter Miami coach Tata Martino, as their impact resonates on and off the field.
In a commanding performance, Inter Miami secured their berth in the 2023 Leagues Cup final with a resounding 4-1 victory over Philadelphia Union. Notably, Josef Martinez, Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, and David Ruiz all found the back of the net, underscoring the team’s collective prowess.
While Messi’s imprint has undoubtedly energized the squad, Martino emphasized that the squad’s strength extends beyond the realm of the Argentine maestro. He acknowledged the expanding range of goal contributors and the healthy competition for positions, which, in turn, presents him with a welcome ‘problem’ in team selection.
“Leo, Josef, normally they participate [in the goals]. There’s progress, because Benja [Cremaschi] recently scored; today it was David coming from behind for the goal, Jordi as a defender scores a goal. And that I think is important for any team,” Martino expressed.
He further noted, “It’s true that the team is changed, but it’s also true that the roster has changed. Today we have a much more competitive roster that creates problems for the coach when it comes time to choose the team.”
The infusion of youthful talent, epitomized by Ruiz, is finding harmonious synergy with the seasoned expertise of Messi, Busquets, and Alba. Ruiz exulted in sharing the field with these illustrious football figures and underscored the valuable mentorship that the trio provides.
He explained, “Everybody has a winning mentality, and everybody’s ready to play every tournament, win every game, and every final. They’re players that obviously just try and give advice.”
Highlighting the interplay between experience and youthful enthusiasm, Ruiz elaborated, “We’re like, young and stuff, we try to run everywhere. That’s something that they just told us: ‘Oh, just maintain more your position, that the ball’s going to get to you. Stop running for the ball too much where you’re just trapping yourself’ – things like that.”
As the Leagues Cup final against Nashville looms, Messi is poised to add another prestigious accolade to his storied career. The integration of these footballing luminaries into the Inter Miami setup has not only elevated the team’s performance but also augments the potential for future success, as a delicate balance between experience and youthful exuberance takes center stage.