Hong Kong authorities and football fans have expressed their disappointment that Lionel Messi was left on the bench for Inter Miami's friendly 4-1 win over a Hong Kong- the
Hong Kong's friendly against Inter Miami was supposed to be a spectacle for fans of the king's sport, but it turned into a widespread disappointment due to the absence from the field of the eight-time winner of “Ballon d'Or“.
Due to a muscle injury, the Argentinian star could not participate in the match, for which 38,000 tickets had been purchased since December.
“We are sad and disappointed. What bothered us the most was that he didn't even come out to say hello, apologize, offer some autographed balls for the public” said Victoria Tripodoro, an Argentinian student who paid 1,580 Hong Kong dollars (200 US dollars) to see her idol.
For its part, the Kong Kong government expressed its deep disappointment that Messi did not play and no immediate explanation was given.
Lionel Messi and David Beckham were even booed on Sunday, as fans flocked to see him play.
The 2022 World Cup winner, who suffered a hamstring strain, remained on the bench for Inter Miami's 4-1 win over Hong Kong.
Halfway through the second half, chants of “We want Messi” from fans desperate not to see him in action. The booing intensified (video below) in the last ten minutes of the match when it became clear that the 36-year-old Argentine would not be playing.
The public was also disappointed by the fact that the Uruguayan Luis Suarez, the former striker of the FC Liverpool and FC Barcelona teams, did not perform on Sunday due to a knee injury.
Lionel Messi played just six minutes in Inter Miami's last match in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, being uncertain for the start of the new Major League Soccer season, which will start on February 21.