Lionel Messi Inter Miami press conference
Lionel Messi says he has rediscovered happiness since joining Inter Miami from Paris Saint-Germain CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP News

Inter Miami boss Gerardo Martino is not sure if Lionel Messi will be fit to play ahead of their U.S. Open Cup final.

Martino said Inter Miami do not want to "make a mistake" and risk losing Messi for the remainder of the season. The Argentinian forward has been struggling with a muscle injury, having recently missed games for both his club and country.

As Inter Miami are chasing their second piece of silverware, Martino is facing a race against time in terms of Messi's fitness.

"It's very difficult to give him a percentage because we have to take it day by day. We'll continue to evaluate him and, as I always say, I will listen to him first and see how he's feeling. Then we'll also need to evaluate future risks. It's not an easy decision, but we're going to take the right amount of time to try to not make a mistake," Martino said in an interview.

The 36-year-old forward sat out Inter Miami's 1-1 draw with Orlando City in their Major League Soccer (MLS) game on Sunday. Previously when he missed his side's game against Atlanta, Inter Miami suffered a big 5-2 defeat.

Messi first sustained a knock during the international break while he was playing for Argentina in their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign. Since then, Messi has only managed to play for 37 minutes before being forced off during an MLS clash against Toronto FC.

Inter Miami have a hectic schedule in the coming weeks, with a crucial clash against New York City FC following the U.S. Open Cup final. At present, New York City FC occupies the final playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference, and Martino's Inter Miami are focused on closing the five-point gap that separates them from a postseason berth.

Messi and co. are set to host Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Undoubtedly, if fit, Messi will be Dynamo's biggest threat in the final. The former FC Barcelona star has netted 11 goals and recorded five assists in 12 games during his time in the US.

Since Dynamo is in the Western Conference and Inter Miami is in the Eastern Conference, these players are yet to come up against Messi in the Inter Miami shirt.

Speaking in an interview ahead of the big final, Houston Dynamo head coach Ben Olsen insisted he would not be revealing any of his tactical plans around ways to possibly stop Messi.

"If I had the right plan to stop him [Messi], I wouldn't give it to you. I don't want to get into that too much," said Olsen.