Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said he is happy to see that Lionel Messi “has found a place where he is loved” following the star’s move to Miami.
Messi, 36, joined Inter Miami CF this summer as a free agent after two difficult seasons at Paris Saint-Germain.
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“I see him [Messi] as everybody else sees him, happy,” Scaloni said Wednesday. “He’s found a place where he is loved, and I always say he is happy on a football pitch.”
World Cup winner Messi said on Sunday he was “very grateful to the people for the support” he is getting in MLS.
Messi found it hard to adapt to Paris and admitted in June that there was a “fracture with a significant group of the PSG fans.”
Brazil forward Neymar said this week that he and Messi “lived through hell” during their time together in Paris with PSG fans having booed and jeered both players following the team’s exits from the Champions League over the past two years.
Lionel Messi has enjoyed a dream start to his time at Inter Miami. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
“Beyond the country or the city, what he [Messi] needs is to play football and feel happy,” Scaloni said.
Messi has scored 11 goals and set up eight more in his 11 appearances for Miami. The south Florida side hasn’t lost since Messi arrived, a run that has included winning the 2023 Leagues Cup and advancing to the US Open Cup final.
Despite Messi’s heavy workload, Scaloni has no plans to rest him for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, at home to Ecuador on Thursday and away to Bolívia on Sept. 12.
“I see him well,” Scaloni said. “He is available to play, and we are happy to have him, as I always say. The plan is for him to play. If he has nothing, he will play as much as he can.
“We have no other intention. For us, that he is on the field is important. There is no reason to save him if he has no problems.”