HomeFootballArgentina's Friendly Cancelled Amidst Ongoing Lionel Messi Backlash in China

Argentina’s Friendly Cancelled Amidst Ongoing Lionel Messi Backlash in China


Argentina’s Friendly Cancelled Amidst Ongoing Lionel Messi Backlash in China

Lionel Messi, one of the greatest football players of all time, has found himself at the center of a controversy in China. The Argentine star was set to play in a friendly match between Argentina and Nigeria next month, but the game has been cancelled due to the backlash he faced during a recent preseason match in Hong Kong.

Messi, who currently plays for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS), was an unused substitute in a pre-season win against a Hong Kong XI. However, it was his decision to play in Japan just days after missing the game in Hong Kong that upset Chinese fans.

During the match in Hong Kong, fans booed Inter co-owner David Beckham and jeered throughout the game, demanding to see Messi on the pitch. Even the government of Hong Kong voiced their frustration over Messi’s absence, leading him to defend himself by stating that a minor injury kept him out of action.

Despite his explanation, Hangzhou sports authorities have now announced the cancellation of Argentina’s clash with Nigeria, which was scheduled to take place in the city next month. In a statement, they explained that the conditions to hold the friendly match are not mature and therefore it had to be cancelled.

An Argentina official, speaking to the Association Press, acknowledged that the cancellation is a sensitive matter. It is now unclear what will happen with Argentina’s other scheduled match against Ivory Coast, Nigeria’s opponents in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

The controversy surrounding Messi’s absence has not only affected the upcoming friendly matches but also caused disappointment among fans who attended Miami’s friendly at the Hong Kong Stadium last Sunday. Tatler Asia, the event organizer, has offered a 50 percent refund to fans who attended the match.

In a statement criticizing Inter Miami CF, Tatler Asia expressed their disappointment with Messi’s absence and pleaded with the team’s ownership and management to have him engage with the spectators and explain why he couldn’t play. Inter Miami CF apologized for the situation, acknowledging the disappointment caused and emphasizing that player health must always come first.

This incident serves as a reminder that injuries are unfortunately a part of the beautiful game and even the biggest stars are not immune to them. While fans may be disappointed, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of the players and respect their decisions regarding their fitness.

As Argentina looks for another venue to face Nigeria, it remains to be seen how this controversy will impact Messi’s relationship with fans in China. It is clear that his absence has caused frustration and disappointment, but it is also an opportunity for him to show resilience and continue to be an ambassador for the sport he loves.

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