Inter Miami stars Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Busquets will not feature in the club’s upcoming match against Vancouver. In fact, the dynamic trio did not even travel to the Canadian city with their teammates on Thursday. The current Major League Soccer Eastern Conference leaders face the Whitecaps on Saturday, May 25.

While the three former Barcelona players are missing the match, they are not suffering from various injuries. Messi, Suarez, and Busquets were all recently seen taking part in Miami‘s training session on Tuesday. The trio participated in the one-hour session and then later spoke with season ticket holders afterward.

According to reports, the three stars are, instead, remaining in Miami due to rest. A typical flight from south Florida to Vancouver takes about eight hours. This is currently the longest possible flight in Major League Soccer. Not only is traveling an issue. Inter is playing two more matches within a week. Along with Vancouver, the club also faces Atlanta on Wednesday and St. Louis the following Saturday. The latter two games, however, are both at home in Miami.

Vancouver offers sellout crowd food and drink discounts as Messi, Suarez and Busquets miss out

Vancouver is expecting a sellout crowd of around 55,000 fans for the match with Miami. Many Whitecaps fans undoubtedly purchased tickets to the game to catch Messi in action. The team’s highest home crowd of the current campaign was just over 32,000 people earlier this month.

“While we haven’t received an official update on the availability of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Sergio Busquets for this weekend, we understand they will not make this trip,” stated Whitecaps CEO Axel Schuster. “Unfortunately, we have no control over who plays for our opponent, and it was important for us to communicate to our fans as soon as possible.”

“We always want our best players going up against our opponent’s best players, and facing players of the highest pedigree was especially exciting for our team. We know that there will also be a lot of disappointed fans, we remain committed to making this a special experience for everyone. It is still going to be an incredible atmosphere and celebration of soccer for our city. We have amazing fans, we have a good team, and Saturday’s match is a very important home game for us.”

Nevertheless, Vancouver will apparently offer fans fairly significant discounts to help offset the disappointment. All food and beverages inside the stadium are half-price during the upcoming match. Kids under the age of 18 will also have free meal combinations as well. It remains unclear if all 55,000 fans will still show up to BC Place to watch a Messi-less Miami.

Messi receiving rest as Copa America tournament nears

There have been suggestions that the trio is skipping the trip to Canada due to the arena’s artificial turf. Nevertheless, Messi previously proclaimed that he would not be afraid to play on the synthetic surface throughout the season. The aforementioned trio also recently played on the fake turf against the New England Revolution in April.

The star wanting rest could very well come down to heavy scheduling ahead of the 2024 Copa America. Messi is featuring at the upcoming tournament across the United States with Argentina beginning on June 20. Miami currently has five fixtures on the schedule before the massive international competition starts.

The upcoming game will be Messi’s seventh missed match of the current campaign. Despite the string of absences, the superstar leads the league in assists, while also providing 10 goals as well. With Messi in charge, Miami unsurprisingly has the most points in MLS at the moment.