Hong Kong Government Expresses Disappointment As Lionel Messi Misses Friendly Match

Lionel messi

Hong Kong Government has conveyed its disappointment following the absence of former Barcelona star Lionel Messi in the friendly match, where Inter Miami secured a 4-1 victory over Hong Kong XI.

Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino‘s announcement on Friday that Lionel Messi was “likely” to play in the game, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner,

reportedly grappling with a hamstring injury, was omitted from Inter Miami’s matchday squad.

Martino also elected to leave the team’s three other former Barcelona stars — Sergio Busquets, Luis Suárez and Jordi Alba — on the bench from the start in Hong Kong.

Spectators chanted “refund,” and the Hong Kong government said match organisers Tatler Asia may face a reduction in funding after Messi stayed on the bench during the match.

The Major Sports Events Committee (MSEC) had granted 15 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.92 million) for the event along with a grant of 1 million Hong Kong dollars for the venue, the government said in a statement.

“Regarding Messi not playing the match today, the Government, as well as all football fans, are extremely disappointed about the organisers’ arrangement.

The organiser owes all football fans an explanation,” they said.


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“The MSEC will take follow-up actions with the organiser according to the terms and conditions, which includes reducing the amount of funding as a result of Messi not playing the match.”

The organisers said they expected Messi and Suarez to play and were extremely disappointed that they did not feature in the match.

“Despite some news reports, Tatler did not have any information about the non-participation of Messi or Suarez prior to kick off,” they said in a statement.

“Messi and Suarez were deemed unfit to play by their team’s medical department, to everyone’s, including our, disappointment.”

Martino said playing Messi and Suarez could have posed a risk of aggravating their injuries.

“Well, Leo has swelling in the adductor [muscle]. …

When we sat down with the medical team they voiced their view that it was very risky for this footballer to play today,” he told reporters.

“In Luis’ 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 added.

Inter Miami remains optimistic about Lionel Messi‘s participation in their upcoming friendly against Vissel Kobe on Wednesday, eagerly anticipating his potential involvement in the match.

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