Lionel Messi’s sit out in Inter Miami victory has disappointed Hong Kong officials and people: “Refund”

Lionel Messi is one of the biggest soccer stars in the world, so when news broke about his team’s trip to the Far East for a friendly game in Hong Kong, excitement hit the locals, who immediately got hopeful of seeing the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner. The friendly is one of Inter Miami’s pre-season games in several countries.

Sadly, Lionel Messi didn’t get a minute of action in the match between the Hong Kong XI and the Florida-based franchise, much to the disappointment of fans who had paid hundreds of dollars to watch the World Cup winner in action. Messi’s MIA moment prompted anger-filled chants from the home fans, but why did he sit out the game? Let’s find out.

Hong Kong officials and fans disappointed over Lionel Messi sit-out

Inter Miami pulled a Lionel Messi no-show for their friendly in the Far East with Hong Kong XI, their fifth pre-season friendly in their first international pre-season tour. Many local fans had been waiting for this day because they thought they would see Lionel Messi feature in the game.

As one of the biggest soccer stars in the world, the Argentine forward was expected to be the team’s poster boy in Hong Kong, but an alleged injury problem ruled him out of the game, leading to an outpour from fans, who chanted for their ticket money to be refunded.

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Source: Midland Daily News

“Regarding Messi not playing the match today, the government, as well as football fans, are extremely disappointed about the organizers’ arrangement,” the MSEC, Hong Kong’s footballing body, said.

“The organizers owe all football fans an explanation. The MSEC will take follow-up actions with the organizers according to the terms and conditions, which include reducing the amount of funding as a result of Messi not playing the match,” they added.

According to ESPN, the friendly was a costly one for MSEC, which sanctioned a $1.92 million fee for Inter Miami to play the game with an extra $100k for the venue rental fee.

Tata Martino apologizes for no Lionel Messi show

Although Inter Miami secured their first win of their five pre-season friendly games in five games, Lionel Messi’s no-show against the Hong Kong XI clouded the wonderful 4-1 win.

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Source: South China Morning Post

The organizers had guaranteed the appearances of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, convincing the locals to pay up to $700 for the tickets despite speculation that the Argentine might not play the game.

The club manager, Tata Martino, provided an apology and explanation to the home fans, claiming he couldn’t afford to risk the player, who was reportedly nursing a hamstring injury despite his cameo appearance against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, which Inter Miami lost 6-0, with Ronaldo also sitting out injured.

“Well, Leo has swelling in the abductor. When we sat down with the medical team, they voiced their view that it was very risky for this football (Messi) to play today,” the former Argentine and Barcelona coach said.

“In Luis’s (Suarez) case, he has a problem with his knee. He woke up swollen after the second match in Saudi Arabia, so he wasn’t fit for today’s match. We understand the disappointment from the crowd who came to the stadium today that Leo and Luis were absent,” he further said.

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Source: Sports Illustrated

Although Messi did not take part in the game, he was on the bench with Suarez throughout the game, cheering his team on as they won the game 4-1.


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