‘I always want to play’ – Lionel Messi clarifies Hong Kong absence

Lionel Messi playing football for Inter Miami

Lionel Messi has moved to set the record straight regarding his non-appearance in Inter Miami’s recent friendly in Hong Kong, stressing he wanted to play but had a genuine adductor injury.

Messi was named as a substitute for Miami’s 4-1 win over a Hong Kong XI on February 4, but he failed to appear as the 40,000-strong crowd chanted his name, with loud boos and calls for refunds also audible.

The Hong Kong government subsequently demanded an explanation from match organisers, and their fury only grew when Messi did feature against Vissel Kobe on the next leg of Miami’s Asian tour three days later.

Read our other sports news stories here:
Struggling Nets fire head coach Jacque Vaughn
NBA superstar James ‘committed’ to Olympic role
Stephen Curry ‘thinks about retirement all the time’

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, senior government adviser Regina Ip accused Messi of a “deliberate and calculated snub”. Meanwhile, the Global Times media organisation, part of China’s state-controlled media, said Messi’s absence raised questions about his “integrity”.

However, the Barcelona and Argentina great has now taken to Chinese social media platform Weibo to explain his non-appearance, insisting he was injured in a 4-3 defeat to Al-Hilal in late January.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

“I’ve read and heard a lot of things about what happened after the match in Hong Kong. That’s why I wanted to make this video, to give the real explanation and avoid false reports,” Messi said.

“I always want to play. I want to play in every match. I heard that I didn’t want to play because of politics and many other things that have nothing to do with this.

“If that were the case, I wouldn’t have travelled to Japan or to China like I have so many times in my career.

“I’ve always had a very close relationship with China. I’ve done so many things with China like interviews, friendly matches, events and games with Barcelona and Argentina.

“Like I said during the press conference that I gave, I had inflammation in my adductor and I couldn’t play. I felt it in the first game that I played in Saudi Arabia and I tried to play in the second game but it felt worse.

“I tried, the day before, to take part in a training session to be there for all those people. I did what I could but I honestly couldn’t play because I felt discomfort.

“After a few days had passed I felt a little better and that’s why I played a bit in the friendly in Japan, to prepare for what’s coming next. I had to play to get some rhythm back.

“I want to send my love to the people of China, a feeling I’ve always had with them. I hope we can see each other again soon.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts