Lionel Messi opted to sit out the match in Hong Kong due to an injury. According to Inter Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Messi was deemed unfit to play in the friendly match. This decision was made after Messi had already pulled out of playing against Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, which Inter Miami lost 6-0. Therefore, Messi’s absence from the match in Hong Kong was due to his injury and the need to prioritize his recovery.

It seems there was some miscommunication or disagreement regarding Lionel Messi’s fitness to play in the match. According to Time and Tatler’s CEO Michel Lamuniere, Inter Miami had initially communicated that Messi was fit to play. However, when it was time for Messi to take the field, there were appeals for him to address the fans, which apparently went ignored by Inter Miami. This situation likely added to the frustration of both the fans and the organizers, leading to dissatisfaction and financial losses. (Former PSG Star Dani Alves Goes On Trial For Sexual Assault)

Lionel Messi’s official Weibo account had already apologized to the Chinese fans after not playing in the Hong Kong match. “Anyone who knows me knows that I always want to play… especially in these games where we travel so far and people are excited to see our games. Hopefully we can come back and play a game in Hong Kong,” the post read.

“The match in Hong Kong became the only one in Messi’s six pre-season friendly matches on this trip where he was absent. The situation…has magnified these doubts and suspicions on the integrity of Inter Miami and Messi himself. Some mainland fans travelled 12 hours from Xinjiang to Hong Kong to see Messi with the disappointment of the government and fans “entirely understandable. The impact of this incident has far exceeded the realm of sports,” it wrote.

Sports lawmaker Kenneth Fok said the incident “sprinkled salt wounds” on Hong Kong fans while senior government advisor Regina Ip wrote on X that “Hong Kong people hate Messi, Inter-Miami and the black hand behind them, for the deliberate and calculated snub to Hong Kong.”

“Messi should never be allowed to return to Hong Kong. His lies and hypocrisy are disgusting,” she added. (Cristiano Ronaldo Vs Lionel Messi: LeBron James Picks His ‘GOAT’ Of Football)

What Next For Lionel Messi And Inter Miami?

It sounds like Inter Miami has an intriguing pre-season schedule lined up, including a match against Lionel Messi’s old club, Newell’s Old Boys. Facing off against a club with such significance to Messi adds an extra layer of excitement to their preparations. Following their pre-season matches, Inter Miami will kick off their MLS season with a clash against Real Salt Lake on February 22. It’ll be interesting to see how the team performs as they transition from pre-season to regular season action.

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