Fans demand refund after Lionel Messi no show at friendly with ticket costing up to HKD$4,880

Lionel Messi, the most followed athlete worldwide, is celebrated for his exceptional skills and unmatched achievements, having secured every significant accolade in his sport. His tremendous popularity is showcased once again, as fans gather in a sold-out stadium just to watch him train during the pre-season tour in Hong Kong.

Inter Miami is currently on a pre-season tour across Asia, preparing for the busy upcoming 2024 MLS season and the CONCACAF Champions League. During the tour, fans expressed their dissatisfaction and demanded refunds, accompanied by boos, as Messi remained on the bench during the match against the Hong Kong XI earlier today.

Fans demand refund for Messi-less Inter Miami game

The recently crowned FIFA Best Player 2023, Lionel Messi, rejoined his club’s training camp in their pre-season tour and traveled to take part in the friendly-tournament Riyadh season cup in Saudi Arabia in a three-team competition with two Saudi Pro League clubs, Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, respectively. 

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Following their two-match schedule in Riyadh, the Florida-based club moved to Hong Kong to play a friendly match against Hong Kong XI. Despite the potential absence of Lionel Messi, fans spent £600 on tickets, only for their worst fears to materialize as the World Cup winner did not take to the field.

The sold-out home crowd’s anticipation of seeing the magic of an eight-time Ballon d’Or winner on the pitch was dashed as he remained on the bench for the entire game, alongside newly arrived and former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez. Nonetheless, Inter Miami secured a stunning 4-1 victory.

A crowd of nearly 40,000 voiced their frustration over not seeing Messi play, with chants of “We want Messi” echoing in the stands. Their disappointment was further expressed through boos due to unmet expectations, leading to demands for refunds. 

Messi, speculated to be dealing with hamstring issues, had only participated in the final 10 minutes of their previous match against Al-Nassr earlier in the week.

Inter Miami scores first win without Lionel Messi

Last season, Inter Miami failed to secure a spot in the MLS playoffs, finishing at the bottom of the league table. They aimed to rebound with a meticulously planned extended pre-season camp that began in November 2023. Despite these efforts, the American club found themselves on a winless streak from the start.

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Inter Miami’s pre-season started with a 2-1 loss to fellow MLS rivals New York City FC, followed by a 0-0 draw against the El Salvador national team, and later a narrow defeat to another MLS side, FC Dallas.

In Riyadh, Messi and his teammates endured two consecutive defeats against Riyadh clubs, with the second game resulting in a 6-0 humiliation as Al-Nassr destroyed Inter Miami

Despite these setbacks, Inter Miami finally clinched their first victory of the tour against Hong Kong XI. Next on their schedule, they will face the Japanese champions, Vissel Kobe, in Japan. Following this, they will return to Florida to host Newell’s Old Boys in what will be their final pre-season match.


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