Messi reaches out to Chinese fans after friendly absence outrage

The Rosario-born superstar explained why he missed the game Inter Miami had scheduled against a Hong Kong team

Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi released a video explaining why he missed the friendly Inter Miami played in Hong Kong on February 4. The Qatar 2022 winner’s absence caused outrage among Chinese fans, who booed him and demanded reimbursement for their tickets.

“I’ve read and heard many things after the Hong Kong game, so I wanted to record this video and give you the true version so nobody has to keep reading false stories,” said Messi in a video uploaded to the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

“As everybody knows, I always want to play and feature in every game. I’ve heard I didn’t want to play due to political reasons and other things that have no relation to it. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have traveled or been so many different times to China,” the Argentina star said, adding that he has felt a special connection with the Chinese fans since the beginning of his career.

“As I said in the press conference, I had an inflamed hamstring and couldn’t participate,” said Messi. “I first felt it in the preseason opener in Saudi Arabia, and when I tried to play in the second game it got worse. I tried my best to train and play because of how many people had come, and I was at the football clinic with all the kids that attended, but I couldn’t play because I was in pain and that could’ve made things worse for me.”

The Rosario-born star insisted he only was able to play some minutes in Japan — where Inter Miami took on Vissel Kobe — after recuperating for a few days. Messi has struggled with injuries since September 2023, when he felt some discomfort during a South American Qualifiers game playing for Argentina.

“I’d already said all this but I think it bears repeating now after everything that’s being said,” Messi said. “ I want to send my love to all the people in China, who I’ve always had and continue to have special affection for. I hope we can see each other soon.”


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald