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Soccer | Feb 05

No Messi, No Party: Hong Kong’s Outrage at the Absence of Lionel Messi

A Messi-Less Inter Miami Defeats Hong Kong All-Star XI in a Huge Disappointment for the Fans

No Messi, No Party: Hong Kong’s Outrage at the Absence of Lionel Messi
Fans react after not seeing Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi | Peter Parks / AFP

Missing the GOAT 😭

Chants echoed throughout the stadium in So Kon Po: “Refund, refund, refund,”…

Close to 40,000 fans arrived at the Hong Kong stadium this past Sunday, and the masses didn’t arrive to support their Hong Kong All-Star XI; no, they were here to see one man…

Lionel Messi!

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Unfortunately, for those in attendance who’d paid a staggering $600+ for tickets, the most they got from Leo Messi was a few sideline pics as the Argentinian superstar stepped onto the pitch in casual wear without any indication that he’d be competing.

Most Asian countries are renowned for the respect they display during professional sports events, but not this time. However, watching one fan head-kick a cardboard cutout of Messi perhaps describes their frustrations best…


Chants echoed throughout the stadium in So Kon Po: “Refund, refund, refund,” and “Where is Messi?

When team owner David Beckham reared his face on the big screen to give a statement, nobody cared, as he was met with a roar of boos from the aggravated Hong Kong fans.

Ok, so you can’t prevent injuries, I get it. However, I believe the lack of MLS news and MLS rumors regarding Messi’s absence was misleading, to say the least.


Club owners and event organizers know that without the World Cup legend on the pitch, those ticket prices and sales figures had significantly less potential to reach the impressive numbers they did because let’s be honest… nobody is going out of their way to watch an Inter Miami squad who placed second-from-bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference last term.

To make matters worse, fellow footballing icon Luis Suarez was also benched.

Hong Kong Government Speaks Up

Fans weren’t the only furious bunch, though; Hong Kong’s Major Sports Events Committee (MSEC) didn’t hold back during a statement they released:

Regarding Messi not playing the match today, the Government, as well as all football fans, are extremely disappointed about the organizers’ arrangement. The organizer owes all football fans an explanation.

While this may seem dramatic to some, the MSEC assisted the event organizers (Tater HK) with close to $2 million in funds. Furthermore, every promotional banner, video, and advertisement leading up to the game featured Messi himself.

It’s the equivalent of McDonald’s promoting the world’s greatest burger and then giving customers a bun and lettuce; Inter Miami, you royally f*cked this one up.

Who knows what’ll happen next, but Inter Miami finally won a game, so there’s that.

Hong Kong XI 1 – Inter Miami 4.

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