Lionel Messi scored a late equalizer to help Inter Miami snatch a draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy on the road. However, that didn’t prevent the Argentine star to hide the fact time is starting to catch up to him and his former Barcelona teammates.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times pointed out how “old” Messi and the likes of Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets looked at the Dignity Health Sports Park in the team’s second match of the 2024 MLS season. Hernandez made an exception for Jordi Alba, who in his opinion “didn’t look as if he was playing with an empty gas tank.”

The author went on to describe Messi and Suarez as “spectators” when the opponets had possession, making it look like their team was down to eight men in defense. As for Busquets, Hernandez said the Spaniard “resembled a statue” on the field, mentioning the early yellow card he got for stopping an opponent.

While this may be one of the few times the former Barca trio gets such criticism for their fitness and performance, even Busquets himself admitted having physical struggles early in the year.

Busquets admits pain, Martino feels Messi needs to preserve energy

I feel fine a bit better; it was difficult for me after Japan and the injury to find a feeling on the field, I’m not 100%. I’m playing through pain,” Busquets told Franco Panizo.

“Am not 100% right now, the injury still bothers me a bit, am playing bandaged, but nothing we didn’t know because of the injury, we assumed the risks (of returning early), and am moving.”

Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino knows fitness is a key topic regarding the veteran stars on the squad, and he learned that the hard way in preseason. Messi had to miss exhibition matches due to muscle discomfort, and even though he recovered for the opening MLS week, Martino has noticed Leo spent too much energy at the start.

“Tata Martino said Lionel Messi has expended too much energy first two games, aim is for the rest of the team to move ball better so he can focus on finalizing goals and preserving some energy for long season ahead,” Michelle Kaufman of The Miami Herald reported, via the Daily Mail.

The article by Hernandez points out how the signs of aging in Inter Miami’s veteran stars could be a red flag for this season, since the Herons have a packed schedule with multiple competitions and flights. Only time will tell us how this unfolds.