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Hong Kong government hits out at Inter Miami over Lionel Messi missing friendly

Published at :February 5, 2024 at 4:39 PM
Modified at :February 5, 2024 at 4:39 PM
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Rajarshi Shukla

The Argentine didn’t feature against Hong Kong All stars

The government of Hong Kong has requested an explanation from the organisers after Lionel Messi did not feature in Sunday’s friendly against Hong Kong all-stars, despite the World Cup champion being highly featured in the advertising.

When Inter Miami chairman and co-owner David Beckham met the 40,000-strong audience after the game and praised them for their “incredible welcome,” enraged supporters jeered him.

During his address, the Manchester United and England icon was ridiculed mercilessly after supporters shelled out up to $460 to see Messi in action.

With a hamstring strain, the World Cup-winning captain remained on the sidelines the entire time with Luis Suarez.

The government of Hong Kong expressed its displeasure by threatening to withhold $2 million in funds from the organisers who brought Inter Miami to the city.

According to reports, spectators were informed up front that there would be no refunds if Messi did not play.

The decision was made, according to Miami coach Gerardo Martino, by the team’s medical staff following an evaluation on Sunday morning.

Chants of “We want Messi” erupted around Hong Kong Stadium halfway through the second half, as supporters eager to witness the most talented player of his generation play in the highly anticipated exhibition match.

When it became apparent that the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner wasn’t going to make even the smallest of cameos over the final ten minutes, the jeers grew louder.

In addition to the notable South American pair, none of Miami’s two former Barcelona stars, Sergio Busquets nor Jordi Alba, were included in the starting lineup.

In the 40th minute, Robert Taylor gave the MLS team the lead with a lovely curling shot with his right foot from the left outside of the box.

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