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Messi Sets Record Straight On Hong Kong Absence, Saying It's His Injury Not Politics

Lionel Messi sets record straight on Hong Kong absence, addressing controversies and emphasizing the genuine reasons behind his absence.

Author:Rhyley Carney
Reviewer:Paula M. Graham
Feb 21, 20243.7K Shares67.7K Views
In response to growing speculation and criticism regarding his absence from a preseason friendly in Hong Kong, Lionel Messi sets record straight on Hong Kong absence. Messi took to Chinese social media platform Weibo to address the issue directly. The Inter Miami star emphasized that his decision was solely based on an adductor injury and not influenced by political motives or any other unfounded reasons.
Messi stated in the video posted on Weibo, "I’ve read and heard many things that have been said after the game in Hong Kong. I wanted to record this video and give you the true version so nobody has to continue reading false stories."
He added, "I’ve heard people say that I didn’t want to play for political reasons and many other reasons that are totally untrue. Had that been the case I wouldn’t have even travelled to Japan or visited China, as I have many times as I have since the start of my career. I’ve had a very close and special relationship with China."
Messi's video posted on Weibo setting the record straight that his Hong Kong absence was due to injury not politics.
Messi's video posted on Weibo setting the record straight that his Hong Kong absence was due to injury not politics.

Messi's Injury And The Ongoing Controversy

Messi further explained the timeline of events leading to his absence from the Hong Kong match. Despite facing discomfort and a risk of aggravating his condition, he made efforts to participate in training and engage with fans during a football clinic. However, when Messi skipped the Hong Kong match, it was because the Argentine superstar deemed it necessary to prioritize his health, citing the potential worsening of his inflamed adductor muscle.
He shared, As I said in the press conference, I had an inflamed adductor and I couldn’t play in the first game in Saudi Arabia, which is when I felt it. In the second game [in Saudi Arabia] I tried to play for a bit, but it got worse. Then on the day before the game [in Hong Kong], I tried to train and made an effort for all those who had come to watch training. I did all I could, I also went along to the football clinic with the kids, but I really couldn’t play. I felt discomfort and there was a risk it could get worse. It felt a bit better a few days later, and that’s why I played for a bit in Japan to prepare fitness-wise for everything to come because I needed to play and get back up to speed.- Lionel Messi
He ended his statement stating, "I’d already said all of this, but I think it was important to say it again now after everything that’s being said. As always, I send good wishes to everyone to China, who I’ve always had and continue to have special affection. I hope to see you again soon."

Fallout From Messi's Absence Led To Cancellation Of Two Argentina Friendlies

The fallout from Messi's absence extended beyond the immediate match, resulting in the cancellation of two Argentina friendlies scheduled in China for March. Chinese officials, including those from Beijing and Hangzhou, cited reasons known to everyone for calling off the matches, contributing to the ongoing controversy.
The backlash from Chinese fans, coupled with accusations of "political motives" from state media, prompted Messi to reiterate his special connection with China and express hope for a positive resolution. The Weibo post garnered significant attention, with comments reflecting a mix of skepticism and support.

Disappointment In Hong Kong And Economic Ramifications

The disappointment among Hong Kong fans was palpable, with 38,000 spectators at the Hong Kong Stadium expressing their discontent through boos and demands for refunds. Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham faced the ire of the crowd as he addressed them post-match. To address the dissatisfaction, match organizers Tatler Asia pledged a 50% refund to the disappointed attendees.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive John Lee and other officials, such as lawmaker Regina Ip, voiced their displeasure over Messi's absence, attributing it to a deliberate snub. The fallout from this incident could potentially impact Messi's standing in the region, considering his popularity and endorsement deals with prominent Chinese brands.


As the controversy lingers, Messi's attempt to set the record straight may not fully extinguish the flames of speculation and disappointment among fans. The long-term repercussions on Messi's relationship with Chinese fans who he said to "continue to have special affection and his commercial ties remain uncertain, making this incident a significant chapter in the global sports narrative.
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Rhyley Carney

Rhyley Carney

Paula M. Graham

Paula M. Graham

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