Messi speaks out about the fallout from Inter Miami's scrapped match in Hong Kong, adding fuel to the fire in China

1 month ago 414

The controversy surrounding Lionel Messi's absence from a friendly match in Hong Kong was further inflamed when he appeared as a substitute in a friendly game in Tokyo just three days later.

Following widespread anger among fans, politicians, and Chinese state media over Messi's actions, the fallout has extended to the cities of Hangzhou and Beijing, which have opted out of hosting Argentina games scheduled for March.

Finally breaking his silence, Messi addressed the issue in a video posted on China's popular social media platform, Weibo. In the video, he refuted claims that his absence was due to political reasons or any other false speculation, asserting that he has always maintained a close relationship with China throughout his career.

Messi clarified that his absence from the Hong Kong match was solely due to injury, specifically an inflamed adductor. Despite being present at the game, he was unable to play. He emphasized that his decision to play in the Tokyo friendly was driven by his improved fitness after a few days of recovery, aiming to regain match fitness.

Despite Messi and Inter Miami citing a groin injury as the reason for his absence, grievances persisted, especially in mainland China, after he played for 30 minutes in Tokyo against Vissel Kobe. China's state-run newspaper, the Global Times, even published an editorial suggesting, without evidence, that Messi's actions may have had political motives and were potentially orchestrated by external forces aiming to embarrass Hong Kong.