Lionel Messi’s ‘No-Show’ Prompts Boos in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Stadium roared with anticipation as approximately 40,000 fans filled the stands, erupting into chants of “Messi! Messi! Messi!” that echoed through the entire arena. Despite the electrifying atmosphere, Lionel Messi, Inter Miami’s star forward, remained seated on the bench throughout the pre-season game.
The absence of Messi and Luis Suarez from the playing squad was not disclosed before the match, leading to a palpable sense of disappointment among the crowd.
The Argentine maestro, adorned in a pink hoodie and sneakers, was sidelined due to inflammation in his adductor, a concern monitored since before the team’s encounter in Saudi Arabia. Coach Tata Martino clarified the decision, emphasizing the team’s reluctance to risk further injury to their key players. The disappointment among the fans escalated as substitutes, excluding Messi, took the field, prompting boos and chants for a refund.
Post-game, co-owner David Beckham faced a chorus of boos when attempting to address the stadium, and the trophy presentation was met with a similar reception. The Hong Kong government expressed extreme disappointment, seeking an explanation for Messi’s absence and hinting at potential sponsorship deductions.
The narrative delves into the unconventional nature of Inter Miami’s international pre-season tour, emphasizing the unique challenges and expectations associated with having global football icons like Messi and Suarez on the roster. Despite the team securing their first victory against a team of Hong Kong all-stars, questions linger about the value of pre-season matches and managing player fitness.
The article concludes by acknowledging the commercial success of Inter Miami during the tour, evident in sold-out stadiums and merchandise visibility. The team, facing imperfections on the field, aims to address issues before the regular season opener. The logistical challenges of an extensive tour are highlighted, with Martino emphasizing a cautious approach to player fitness. The piece is crafted with a tone that is both informative and engaging, catering to a mature and discerning audience.