Football fans in Hong Kong felt let down on Sunday as Lionel Messi was not involved in Inter Miami’s latest friendly match.
Thousands flocked to the Hong Kong Stadium, which holds 40,000 people, to get a glimpse of the World Cup winner in action against a Hong Kong XI.
Messi and his Inter Miami side travelled to the Asian city as part of their preparations for the new MLS season that kicks-off on February 22.
However, fans did not hold back in expressing their disappointment as the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner didn’t play a single minute of the 4-1 win.
Chants of ‘We want Messi’ could be heard in the stadium before they changed to ‘Where is Messi?’
Even Inter Miami substitutes were booed when they made their way onto the pitch as fans waited for one of football’s icons.
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Co-owner David Beckham was involved in a trophy presentation but this was overshadowed by jeers and whistles.
Amid the subdued visit of Messi, the Hong Kong government also displayed their disappointment at his absence from the pitch.
A statement read: “Messi was not able to play in the friendly game today and the government and fans are equally disappointed at the arrangements by the event organiser [Tatler].
“The event organiser owes fans an explanation.”
Inter Miami’s win came just days after they were thumped 6-0 in Saudi Arabia by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr.
The match was dubbed as ‘The Last Dance’ as it looked as though Messi and Ronaldo would meet on the pitch for the final time.
However, the latter was unable to play due to injury and Messi came on as a late substitute in the American outfit’s thumping.
Inter Miami’s final friendly comes against Messi’s boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys before they return to MLS action where they face Real Salt Lake in the season opener on February 22.