Lionel Messi returns to Inter Miami's matchday roster vs. Colorado Rapids

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi will be available for selection in Inter Miami CF's Matchday 8 home clash vs. the Colorado Rapids (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). But that doesn't mean the superstar No. 10 is a lock to play.

Minding long-term health, plus next Wednesday's Leg 2 road match against CF Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinals (a stated priority for Miami), assistant coach Javier Morales made no guarantees about Messi's involvement on Saturday.

"He’s getting better every day. Like Tata [Martino] said after the game, we’ll go day by day," said Morales at Miami's Friday press conference. "We’re going to see how he feels today and then we’re going to make a decision for tomorrow.

"We’re gonna do the best for him. That’s the most important thing. And based on the game that we have tomorrow, we’re going to make a decision first and then we’re going to see about Wednesday [Leg 2 vs. Monterrey]."

Messi's last appearance came in Leg 2 of Miami's Round-of-16 CCC triumph over Nashville SC, a match he left in the 50th minute. He hasn't played in the three league matches since, dealing with hamstring issues.

But if the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner does feel good enough to go, Martino and staff will be more than happy to use him as the Herons work to turn around a 0W-2L-1D record in their last three matches across all competitions.

“If he feels good [in training], obviously Tata will want to have him available [tomorrow]," Morales added. "Whether it’s 10, 15 or 45 minutes, for sure we want him to play.”

Cremaschi available

Miami wunderkind Benjamin Cremaschi also made a surprise return to Miami's Matchday 8 roster, giving Martino some much-needed reinforcement as the team continues dealing with a rash of injuries. The burgeoning midfielder has yet to play in 2024 after undergoing sports hernia surgery in late January.

Other key players still ruled out due to injury include Federico Redondo, Robert Taylor, Sergii Kryvtsov and Facundo Farías (expected to miss all of 2024 with a torn ACL).

Miami currently sit second in the Eastern Conference, but have played either one or two more games than every other team. They could slip several spots in the standings with a loss on Saturday.

The Rapids, fresh off a galvanizing comeback win over LAFC on Matchday 7, should provide a stiff test under new manager Chris Armas.