Will Lionel Messi play against Sporting Kansas City? Here’s what was said on Friday

Over 70,000 fans are expected to pack the stands at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday night, most to catch a glimpse of Lionel Messi, who is considered to be the greatest soccer player of all time.

In fact, some fans got an early look when Messi arrived with his Inter Miami CF teammates at their hotel in Kansas City.

So, yes. Messi is in Kansas City. But as many fans have asked, will he play?

Inter Miami assistant coach Javier Morales told reporters on Friday that Messi will be available to play on Saturday. The plan, Morales said, is to see how Messi feels on Friday first, but Morales noted Messi feels well and is ready to play as much as he can.

Messi missed nearly a month due to injury before returning to the field on Saturday, April 6. He played 45 minutes, notching a goal and assisting in Miami’s 2-2 draw with Colorado. He then played 90 minutes on Wednesday night in Monterrey, Mexico, where Inter Miami lost its CONCACAF Champions League series with C.F. Monterrey.

Before Miami’s match against Monterrey, Sporting manager Peter Vermes said he fully expected Messi to play.

“If something doesn’t happen to him tomorrow night,” Vermes said on Tuesday, “then I would fully expect him to play.”

Nothing happened to him in that match. He played 90 minutes on a bad field in Mexico and, as far as anyone knows, came away without any issues.

“I say that only because I had a very good friend of mine that used to be the manager of Barcelona when (Messi) played there,” Vermes continued. “He had always said, ‘He’s not coming off. He’ll never come off.’ He just has the mentality he wants to play. He is a winner. So I foresee him playing, and if he starts, he’s playing the whole game. That’s just the way he is.”

This story will be updated.

Daniel Sperry covers soccer for The Star. He can be reached at