Inter Miami: Tata talks Messi, Suarez as 2023 season wraps

Tata Martino - Inter Miami CF

With Inter Miami CF’s historic 2023 MLS season in its final days, head coach Gerardo Martino hinted at just how more dominant and star-studded the Herons could be next year.

Suarez arrival?

Tata, speaking on the eve of Wednesday’s home finale (8 pm ET | MLS Season Pass) against Charlotte FC, said the club are planning the possible arrival of Uruguayan superstar Luis Suárez in 2024.

“Within our analysis of the upcoming season, and the needs we may have, we have an analysis with Luis and an analysis without Luis,” Martino said of the 36-year-old legend, whose current coach at Brazilian Série A side Grêmio – Renato Gaúcho – recently announced the player will depart at year’s end.

“So when the moment arrives to make Suárez’s situation with respect to Inter Miami official, we’ll be prepared to go in the corresponding direction.”

Suárez would add even more firepower to an already loaded Miami side that underwent a massive midseason transformation with the summer signings of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba – all three coincidentally teammates of the striker during FC Barcelona's legendary period of domestic and international dominance.

Messi status

As for Messi, Martino said he’d “evaluate” the legendary No. 10 once he returns from World Cup qualifiers with Argentina. The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner recently returned to action in Miami's 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati on Oct. 7 after sitting out the club's previous four matches with a lingering injury.

“We’ll evaluate not just Leo, but all the players who are with their national teams,” Tata told reporters. “… We also have to see that we have no possibility at making the playoffs and the most convenient thing is to avoid risks.”

Even without the GOAT, Martino warned Charlotte – who are chasing their first-ever Audi MLS Cup Playoffs berth ahead of Wednesday and their Decision Day rematch at Bank of America Stadium, while the Herons are eliminated from the postseason – that his starting XI at DRV PNK Stadium will still be a fierce opponent.

“It’s our obligation to end the league in the best possible way, in some way improving our image from the last three or four games,” he said. “It helps to reach conclusions ahead of the upcoming season.”

2024 beckons

Speaking of what’s to come, Martino also hinted he’s far from satisfied from an already-successful season that included a memorable Leagues Cup 2023 title and run to the US Open Cup Final.

“I always thought 2024 was the year, in some way, our work started,” Tata said. “In these four months, some important things happened for the institution. But I think our real work begins with a good preseason, with a definitive roster.”