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Pissed Hong Kong Fans Leave The Stadium: Lionel Messi’s Absence
Elison Liu |

On Feb. 4, Inter Miami played against Hong Kong XI. Inter took the victory with a 4-1 win in which Robert Taylor, Lawson Sunderland, Leonardo Campana and Ryan Sailor scored. Despite some fans celebrating the Miami Herons’ victory, many fans were outraged after noting the absence of Lionel Messi throughout the game.

As promises of Messi’s performance during the Inter Miami v. Hong Kong XI match were unmet, many fans stated their unwelcomeness towards Messi in the future.

“Messi should never be allowed to return to Hong Kong”, Regina Ip, the leading member of Hong Kong Executive Council Cabinet, said.

Without a previous notice, Messi’s absence in the Starting XI for Inter Miami made Hongkong fans question if he was going to play. A cheerless wait and interrogation for Messi took place throughout the game until the last whistle.

According to MLS Soccer, Messi and Luis Suárez were injured before the game. Head coach Tata Martino disclosed that Messi had adductor inflammation and Suárez was experiencing knee inflammation. This inflammation from Suárez has been recurrent since his days at Grêmio.

A refund is all Hong Kong fans wanted after seeing Messi on the bench for 90 minutes. According to event organizer Tatler Asia, Kevin Yeung and Inter Miami, Messi was supposed to play for at least 45 minutes in the game’s second half. However, this promise was obsolete as fans watched Messi continue to be benched.

Tatler Asia is a luxury magazine that covers lifestyle, beauty, travel, arts, culture and fashion events all over Asia. The company targets individuals who are interested in being part of high society, which was why it was the main organizer for the Inter Miami match at Hong Kong Stadium.

The remedy that Tatler Asia gave is to reimburse 50% of the ticket price. The total amount resulted in a HK $43 million loss, instead of a HK $13 million profit, according to Fortune

Messi responded to all of this through his Weibo account in which he stated, “Hello to all my fans in mainland China and Hong Kong! As I said in the press conference, it was a real shame not to be able to play in Hong Kong the other day due to a groin injury that had swollen and I was in pain”.

Later, he added, “Anyone who knows me knows that I always want to play, that’s what I always want, to do my best in any game. And especially in these games when we travel so far and fans are excited to see us attend the game healthily.” Nonetheless, the fans’ responses doubted the sincerity in Messi’s words.

Recently, Beijing’s Football Association announced the cancellation of the friendly match between Argentina and Ivory Coast due to the no-show Messi earlier in Inter Miami v. Hong Kong XI. 

“Beijing does not plan, for the moment, to organize the match in which Lionel Messi was to participate,” the Beijing Football Association told the local media, according to The Hindu.

A big question surged after the Inter Miami game against former Club Vissel Kobe. Vissel Kobe are the J1 League Champions of 2023.

“Was Messi’s injury really important?” X users asked after seeing Messi play against Vissel Kobe.

“This is an insult to all Chinese fans,” Xiaohongshu users stated.

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