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Lionel Messi Absence Prompts China to Cancel Argentina's Friendly after Hong Kong Trip Backlash

Fri 09 Feb 2024 | 11:05 PM
Rana Atef

Lionel Messi seems to be the major reason for China's cancellation of the friendly between Argentina and Nigeria next month, which would be hosted by the Asian country, media reports said on Friday.

The move by China was taken after the fierce rage by the fans in Hong Kong after the lack of Messi's participation in Inter Miami's friendly against the Hong Kong XI team due to injury.

The tickets of the event, more than 40,000 tickets were distributed, but were sold out in a few hours as the fans in Hong Kong were hungry to watch the football icon play live, therefore, the presence of the Argentinian star on the bench frustrated the fans, leading the vast majority of them booed Messi, and David Beckham after the game.

China decided to cancel the game due to the disappointment of the fans towards Messi, according to a statement by the organizers.

The organizers said: "Because of the reasons known to all, we've learned from supervising authorities that the conditions are immature for the match to go forward. Now it's been decided that the match will be canceled."

In the same context, the Argentinian Football Association official told the Association Press that it was aware the match was canceled and was looking for another venue to play Nigeria, adding: "It's a sensitive matter."