When Inter Miami and Lionel Messi visit Gillette Stadium this weekend, New England Revolution expects record-breaking attendance. More than 60,000 people are anticipated to attend the game in Foxborough. However, it is quite unlikely that anybody will know until at least an hour before kickoff if the Argentine will be starting.

On Saturday, Inter Miami will face off against the Revolution in a stadium that uses artificial turf, not real grass. One of the top controversies regarding Messi and his availability with Inter Miami focused on turf. His performances have drawn massive audiences for Inter Miami, and New England will hope he is part of Inter Miami’s squad for attendance purposes.

Just two weeks ago, almost 72,000 people flocked to see him in Kansas City. Messi scored in that game as part of his seven goals and six assists in six games played in Major League Soccer this season.

What does Messi think of playing on turf?

But even with the trip to New England to play the Revolution, there’s no assurance that any of Miami’s top soccer players will be on the field. Playing on grass is sure to spark a heated argument. Out of a total of 29 clubs in Major League Soccer, six—including the Revolution—play on synthetic grass.

Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and David Beckham were among the famous players who shied away from playing at Gillette Stadium in the past. Although Henry and Beckham started games there despite their opposition to the surface.

To what extent Messi will defy the trend is the current mystery. Fans in New England who have been waiting for a sight of the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner have reason to be optimistic, as per CBS News. Messi put to rest the rumor that he would flat-out refuse to play on grass at his first news conference in Miami in 2023.

“The truth is my youth was spent on artificial turf, my whole life was on that pitch. Truth is it’s been a while since I’ve played on artificial turf, but I have no problem adapting myself again”, he told reporters.

It wasn’t until last October’s regular-season finale versus Charlotte FC that he had the chance to play all 90 minutes on the artificial surface. In 2023, he missed another turf game in Atlanta. To be fair, that might have been due in part to schedule conflicts and injuries.

Luis Suarez is also uncertain

Concerning the present schedule, there was one factor that prevented him from playing on Saturday. That was a cramped schedule with league play and continental competition. However, Miami and the New England Revolution crashed out in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. If Miami had advanced to the semifinals, Messi would have had to play two games in a short time.

Thus, it seems more likely that Messi would play at Gillette Stadium. Based on Miami’s elimination there is no longer an issue with a busy schedule. Still, Luis Suarez may be the biggest worry for supporters in attendance. Knee discomfort for the 37-year-old is a consequence of significant wear and tear over decades of playing. The Uruguayan’s situation is far more uncertain than Messi’s.