Angry Fans Chant 'Refund!' as Messi Sits Match Out

Tickets for the Hong Kong friendly soared to $625
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2024 12:00 AM CST
Angry Fans Chant 'Refund!' as Messi Sits Out
Inter Miami's Lionel Messi, sixth from left, looks on from the bench during the friendly football match between Hong Kong Team and US Inter Miami CF at the Hong Kong Stadium in Hong Kong, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024.   (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

Even Hong Kong's government weighed in Sunday when Lionel Messi remained on the bench during a pre-season friendly soccer match between his Inter Miami team and Hong Kong's team. Hong Kong Stadium's 40,000 seats sold out for the event, which ended in a win for Inter Miami. But while the crowd started out excited at the idea of seeing the Argentine soccer star and World Cup champion play, they were soon chanting "We want Messi," followed by "Where is Messi?" and, ultimately, booing and chanting "refund, refund, refund" when he still hadn't taken the field in the final 20 minutes of the game, CNN reports.

Club co-owner David Beckham was also booed during the trophy presentation as he tried to thank the crowd. Tickets cost anywhere from $125 to five times that much, the AFP reports. "Without [Messi] it's just like another regular Hong Kong Premier League match, where a ticket only costs [$11]," one fan says. "Messi was not able to play in the friendly game today and the government and fans are equally disappointed at the arrangements by the event organizer," Hong Kong's government said in its statement. "The event organizer owes fans an explanation." A Miami coach says the club's medical staff advised Messi, who has a hamstring strain, to sit the game out. (More Lionel Messi stories.)

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