Messi, subject of scandal on the Miami-Hong Kong axis

English Section / 12 februarie

Messi, subject of scandal on the Miami-Hong Kong axis

Versiunea în limba română

Messi's career entered a very good area financially, but full of controversies, some even unrelated to sports. The scandal over Lionel Messi's absence from a friendly in Hong Kong has spread to mainland China, with some accusing him of trying to demean Beijing. The Argentine and his team, Inter Miami, drew the ire of fans when Messi remained on the bench during the match against a team from Hong Kong, citing an injury. Fans, some of whom had paid more than 4,800 Hong Kong dollars ($500) to see the former PSG star, chanted "Money back", raised fists with thumbs down and booed the co-owner team, David Beckham, when he tried to please the crowd. Chinese outrage grew when he was seen playing 30 minutes in a friendly in Japan. The Global Times newspaper suggested that foreign forces conspired to damage Hong Kong's reputation: "One theory is that Messi's actions were politically motivated, to the extent that Hong Kong wanted to stimulate the economy through this event and that external forces they deliberately wanted to humiliate Hong Kong with this incident. Hong Kong people hate Messi, Inter Miami and the dark hand behind them for the deliberate and calculated slap against Hong Kong " The Hong Kong government demanded an explanation from the match's organizers, who applied for public funding, saying it had been repeatedly assured that Messi would play. The Argentinian player lamented the "bad luck" of not being able to play, hoping to be able to return. Hong Kong's chief government adviser Regina Ip told social network X that Lionel Messi should "never be allowed to return". In mainland China, Messi's absence from the field has been at the forefront of conversations on the digital platform Weibo in recent days. A message from the footballer expressing his regrets was flooded with mocking comments. Some have portrayed Messi as an imperial Japanese soldier, referring to his alleged preference for Japan over China. The sports-finance-politics mix is hard to control, and those who use it can find it blowing up in their faces.

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