Fans were incensed when Argentine football star Lionel Messi apologised for being unable to participate in the friendly encounter in Hong Kong on Sunday. According to CNN, Messi, an Inter Miami player, said that he was injured and couldn’t be allowed to play but still wanted to.
Lionel Messi speaks out about being benched during the friendly against Hong Kong
40,000 fans attended a sellout match in Hong Kong as part of Inter Miami’s preseason tour, however the event ended bitterly with fans jeering, booing, and shouting. When asked if he would be playing in the match against Vissel Kobe, the forward said, “If I’m honest, I still don’t know if I can or not, but I feel much better and I really want to be able to do it.”
The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner’s decision not to be brought on during the match even received a “disappointed” statement from the Hong Kong government. On the recommendation of the medical staff, Messi and Luis Suárez stayed on the bench, as revealed by Miami manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino. In addition, Inter Miami is in Tokyo for a preseason tour, and on Wednesday they take on Vissel Kobe of Japan.
Messi expressed his understanding of the disappointment felt by certain fans that he was unable to attend the game, but he also expressed the hope that Miami will return to Hong Kong in the future.
“I couldn’t be in the Hong Kong game and it’s a shame because I always want to participate, I want to be there, especially when it’s about these types of games that we travel so far and that people are so excited to see our games,” Messi stated to reporters.