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China shitstorm for Inter Miami star: “Hong Kong hates Messi – and he deserves it”

2024-02-12T12:24:54.328Z

Highlights: China shitstorm for Inter Miami star: “Hong Kong hates Messi – and he deserves it’. Two Argentina games scheduled for March in Beijing and Hangzhou were canceled. Argentina president Javier Milei announced he would distance himself from China in November. Shortly after taking office, Milei canceled his country's entry into the Brics group, which is dominated by China. Messi has been an absolute fan favorite in China so far; according to a local media report, he has visited the country eight times.



As of: February 12, 2024, 1:11 p.m

By: Sven Hauberg

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On the bench: Lionel Messi in Hong Kong.

© Alan Siu Mui Lun/Imago

In Hong Kong he was on the substitutes' bench, and in Japan he was on the pitch a little later: China is angry with Lionel Messi - with consequences for Argentina's national team.

The disappointment was great in Hong Kong: At the beginning of the month, Lionel Messi spent a guest game for his team Inter Miami on the substitutes' bench instead of on the pitch.

Most fans came to the stadium primarily because of the popular footballer; they paid between the equivalent of 105 and 580 euros for their tickets.

Messi, however, did not play at all in the friendly match against the Hong Kong XI club due to an alleged muscle injury, but instead sat visibly listless on the sidelines.

After the game he disappeared into the locker room without saying a word.

Just three days later, however, the Argentine suddenly seemed to have recovered: In Tokyo, the 36-year-old played in front of around 28,000 fans in the national stadium for a good 30 minutes - in Japan, of all places, the country that was condemned to massive crimes in China during the Second World War is still largely hated.

And so disappointment turned into sheer anger.

Anger towards Messi was particularly expressed on social media; more than a week after the Hong Kong match, the topic is still trending on the Weibo network.

“How can he do this to us?” writes one user.

Another calls on Messi to “never show up in China again.”

“Hong Kong hates Messi – and he deserves it”

The South China Morning Post

, an English-language newspaper from Hong Kong , also found clear words

.

“Hong Kong hates Messi – and he deserves it,” the paper headlined one comment.

The Argentine "sat on the bench the whole time, all petulant in pink like an unhappy flamingo - we might as well have been watching a sulking little ballerina in a tutu having a childish pout," the newspaper ranted.

The state-controlled Chinese media also took up the issue, such as the

Global Times.

The disappointment of the Hong Kong fans is understandable, says one comment.

“The effects of this incident go far beyond the realm of sport.” The nationalist newspaper also offered a possible explanation for the behavior of Messi and his club: Hong Kong wanted to “stimulate the economy” with the government-sponsored match;

But “external forces” wanted to “deliberately embarrass the city through this incident.”

Since the suppression of the democracy movement in the former British crown colony, the government of Hong Kong has been heavily criticized internationally;

Investors are withdrawing and the first companies are relocating their businesses to Singapore or Seoul.

Another theory is currently doing the rounds in China: it is said that the fact that Messi sat disgruntled on the substitutes' bench has something to do with the politics of the new Argentine president.

In November, Javier Milei was elected to office in the South American country, who announced that he would distance himself from China;

Shortly after taking office, Milei canceled his country's entry into the Brics group, which is dominated by China.

China cancels two Argentina games

Messi has been an absolute fan favorite in China so far; according to a local media report, he has visited the country a total of eight times.

An incident in Beijing made headlines in June when a young fan wearing Messi's jersey stormed the pitch and hugged the footballer during a friendly match between Argentina and Australia - the scenes went viral across the country.

After the unsuccessful performance in Hong Kong, Messi addressed his fans via Weibo and apologized for not being able to play due to the injury.

“I look forward to returning to China as soon as possible to share the joy of football with you,” Messi wrote to his followers.

But it looks like these plans are unlikely to come to fruition, at least in the near future.

“For reasons that everyone knows,” two Argentina national team games scheduled for March in the capital Beijing and the east coast metropolis Hangzhou were canceled.

Source: merkur

All sports articles on 2024-02-12

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