A city in mainland China has decided to cancel its plan to host a soccer match that was supposed to feature Argentina’s national team. This decision comes as a result of a growing backlash in the country against star player Lionel Messi.
Messi has received a lot of criticism for not playing in an exhibition game with his Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami, in Hong Kong.
A packed stadium of 40,000 spectators had gathered for the match in Hong Kong, with many eager to witness the presence of the renowned footballer, who is widely regarded as the best in the world. However, the atmosphere turned sour as disappointed fans expressed their dissatisfaction through boos, jeers, and even demands for refunds when he did not make an appearance on the field.
Messi expressed his desire to play, but unfortunately, he was unable to take the field due to an injury. However, a wave of criticism has been directed towards him on the Chinese internet.
Chinese authorities recently expressed their dissatisfaction with Messi by canceling a friendly match between Argentina and Nigeria, which was supposed to take place at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center.
Hangzhou Sports Bureau recently announced on WeChat that the game has been canceled due to a well-known reason, without explicitly mentioning the saga that occurred almost a week ago.
“After careful consideration, it has been determined that the conditions for holding the event are not yet suitable. As a result, the decision has been made to cancel the event,” the statement read.
The game in Hangzhou was one of two matches that the Argentina team had scheduled to play in China in March.
Additionally, it is set to face the Ivory Coast at the Beijing Workers’ Sport Complex.
Challenging Situations for Public Relations
Messi remained on the substitute bench during the match between Inter Miami and the Hong Kong team on February 4, despite numerous requests from the Hong Kong government and organizer, Tatler Asia, for him to participate in the game.
According to his coach, Messi was unfortunately injured and received last-minute advice from the medical team not to participate. Messi expressed his disappointment, stating that he had desired to be part of it.