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Argentina National Football Team Replaces China Tour with US Matches due to Controversy Surrounding Lionel Messi

Buenos Aires (AFP)

The Argentina national football team replaced its friendly tour scheduled for next March in China with two friendly matches in the United States, following the controversy surrounding the leader and star Lionel Messi, after his tour with his American team Inter Miami in Hong Kong, according to what the local game association said.
China has abandoned hosting two friendly matches for Argentina, the World Cup champion in Qatar 2022, the first against Nigeria in Hangzhou and the second against Côte d’Ivoire in Beijing, after the uproar that arose after Messi did not participate in a friendly match for Inter Miami against a team of league stars in Hong Kong. On the fourth of February.
Messi and his teammates will play against El Salvador in Philadelphia on March 22, and against Nigeria in Los Angeles four days later.
Messi’s first international tour with his American club had a negative impact on him, after he remained on the bench in a match against the League Stars in Hong Kong 1-4 due to an injury, which sparked public and government anger.
His non-attendance sparked boos and calls for refunds from thousands of fans who spent large sums to watch the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner.
After the Argentine star played 30 minutes of his team’s friendly match against Japanese League champion Vissel Kobe a few days later, discontent increased in China.
The audience expressed their anger at Messi’s failure to apologize immediately, after they paid amounts amounting to about $616 for a ticket to see him, noting that the organizing company, “Tatler Asia,” promised those who bought tickets a 50% refund of their money.
Messi confirmed on February 19 that his absence from the match was not neglect, but rather due to injury, rejecting talk that his non-participation was for “political reasons,” and said that if that were the case, “I would not have traveled” to Hong Kong in the first place.
Messi spoke in a video clip about a “very nice and very close” relationship with China, a country with which he said he “did many things, including press meetings and matches, whether with Barcelona of Spain or the Argentine national team.”

2024-02-23 04:26:06

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