Angry supporters in Hong Kong jeered Messi and club co-owner David Beckham after the legendary player from Argentina did not show up for a packed friendly.
Lionel Messi’s Injury Update
The World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi stated on Tuesday that his leg injury was “getting better,” but he could not promise he would be ready to play in Inter Miami’s preseason friendly against Japan this week.
Two days before, enraged supporters in Hong Kong yelled “Refund” and jeered Messi and club co-owner David Beckham after the legendary player from Argentina was unable to show up for a packed friendly.
Before their Wednesday encounter against Japanese champions Vissel Kobe, eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi told reporters, “I don’t know if I can (play) or not but I feel a lot better and really want to do it.”
“We’re going to practice this afternoon and give it another shot. In contrast to how I was feeling, I feel fantastic.”
The friendly at Tokyo’s National Stadium has been generating excitement, as areas of the hip Shibuya neighborhood of the city have been decorated in Inter Miami‘s pink colors.
Inter Miami’s Pre-season Tour in Japan
The US Major League Soccer (MLS) club’s worldwide pre-season tour will stop in Japan. Tickets range in price from 10,000 yen ($68) to 200,000 yen ($1,346), with “special experience” packages costing even more.
Nearly 40,000 people in Hong Kong, who had paid comparable prices for their seats, were incensed when Messi remained anchored to the bench throughout their 4-1 victory against a local select XI. They jeered and made thumbs-down gestures.
The organizers of the game were compelled to provide an explanation by the Hong Kong authorities.
“It was really bad luck that I couldn’t play in Hong Kong,” stated Messi.
“Unfortunately this happens in football, in any game it can happen that you can’t play,” he said.
“Especially in these games when we travel so far and people want to watch our games, I always want to participate and play. I’m hoping we can go back to Hong Kong and play a game.”
Messi’s Injury Revelation
The controversy started last Thursday when Miami’s last game in Saudi Arabia ended with the 36-year-old Messi entering as a substitute.
He said, “I played the minutes that I did to see how I felt.” “I later did an MRI scan and it turned out I had an oedema (swelling).”
Miami had not won a preseason game in five years before their victory in Hong Kong. They lost against FC Dallas, another MLS team, twice to Saudi Arabian clubs, and drew 0-0 in El Salvador.
Before the new MLS season begins on February 21, they have one more friendly left, against Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys at home the following week.