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Livid Inter Miami fan kicks Lionel Messi poster in anger | Football | Sport

An unhappy Inter Miami fan kicked a poster of Lionel Messi after the World Cup-winning star did not play in the team’s pre-season match in Hong Kong due to an injury. The friendly, which took place at Hong Kong Stadium, was attended by 40,000 fans who had each paid 1,000 Hong Kong dollars (£102) to watch.

Despite a speech from club co-owner David Beckham, the crowd was not happy when they found out Messi wouldn’t be playing because of a hamstring problem. They even started shouting ‘Refund!’ as anger in the stands spilled over, with a video having now also surfaced showing one upset fan kicking a poster of Messi at the stadium.

In a clear sign of his disappointment, the fan’s kick was strong enough to knock off the head of the World Cup winner on the cardboard display. Despite winning the friendly game 4-1 against an All-Star XI of local league players, many fans were still not satisfied.

The absence of eight-time Ballon d’Or winner from a game due to injury sparked reactions from Hong Kong’s political leaders. They claim they were only told Messi wouldn’t play in the exhibition match at the stadium just ten minutes before the end of the game.

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According to the BBC, Hong Kong government officials believed Messi was contractually obliged to appear for 45 minutes. The politicians asked for Messi to take part in post-game interactions, but this request seemed to be ignored as well after the match concluded.

“We immediately requested them to explore other remedies, such as Messi appearing on the field to interact with his fans and receiving the trophy,” said Kevin Yeung, the Hong Kong secretary for culture, sports and tourism. “Unfortunately, as you all see, this did not work out.”

The Hong Kong government’s major sports events committee (MSEC) also expressed their disappointment. “Regarding Messi not playing the match today, the government, as well as all football fans, are extremely disappointed about the organisers’ arrangement,” they stated. “The organizer owes all football fans an explanation.”

Another major issue is that the MSEC purportedly gave 15 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.9m) for the event. In addition to this outlay, they also were said to have given one million Hong Kong dollars ($128k) to Hong Kong Stadium for the game.

But now the organizers Tatler Asia say they won’t take the money because Messi wasn’t able to feature in the friendly match. Michel Lamuniere, the boss of the company also expressed ‘disappointment’ in regards to the Argentine’s absence from matters on the field.

“Tatler Asia deeply regrets the disappointing ending to what was an exciting occasion,” the CEO acknowledged, before adding: “[Tatler Asia] has decided to officially withdraw its application for… the 16 million Hong Kong dollars government grant.”

  • This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up the Daily Express editorial research. A Daily Express editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors here

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