Messi Finally Addresses 'Hong Kong Incident'

By Billy Jiang, February 21, 2024

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On the evening of February 19, Lionel Messi finally addressed the 'Hong Kong match incident,' recording a personal video message which was then posted on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.

Messi apologizes for missing the match in Hong Kong due to injury. Video via 梅西LeoMessi10/Sina Weibo

In the video, Messi confirmed that he had indeed been suffering from an injury, which posed a risk of aggravation had he played the match in Hong Kong. 

Later in the video, he assured fans that a few days later, his condition had improved, allowing him to make an appearance during the match in Japan.

Addressing rumors circulating online, Messi emphasized:

"Many of the rumors are simply untrue. I have a very special bond with China."

Hong Kong Meltdown

The timeline traces back to February 4, when Inter Miami faced off against a Hong Kong team in a friendly match at Hong Kong Stadium. 

Fans eagerly awaited the appearance of their football icon Messi, only to be disappointed when he did not take to the field, sparking discontent among supporters.

Following the match, the team responded, citing Messi's absence due to injury. 

However, as the final whistle blew, the stadium resounded with boos and chants of "退钱" ("refund") from the disappointed crowd.

READ MORE: Hong Kong Goes Into Meltdown as Messi Misses Match

Japan Match

On the evening of February 7, just three minutes before Inter Miami's match in Japan, Messi took to Weibo once again to address his absence from the earlier match in Hong Kong, expressing regret for being unable to play due to injury.


Messi released a statement three minutes before Miami International's match in Japan. Screenshot by That's

Messi then played an active role against the Japanese team, sparking criticism. 

Many Hong Kong fans questioned this turn of events, and called for an explanation from the organizers and the team.

Other fans pointed out that a player recovering from injury within three days is indeed a normal and foreseeable situation.


Inter Miami and the Hong Kong match organizers issued a statement on February 9, announcing a 50% refund for the general public who purchased tickets through official channels.


Refund statement by Miami International and the Hong Kong match organizers. Screenshot by That's

Will Messi's video apology appease the haters? How do you perceive the latest developments? Share your thoughts with us.

Stay updated on the latest news in China by following our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image via That's]

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