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Feb. 10, 2024, 4:07 p.m.
Chinese cities cancel Argentina games after Messi no-show
Chinese cities cancel Argentina games after Messi no-show
['Messi', 'friendly', 'Beijing', 'Kong', 'Hong']

Chinese authorities called off two Argentina friendlies, amid the controversy over star of the show Lionel Messi missing the games injured. Having not played in Hong Kong, he later came on as a substitute in Tokyo.

Chinese cities cancel Argentina games after Messi no-show

China's capital Beijing became the latest city to call off an Argentina friendly on Saturday, as the fallout from star player Lionel Messi sitting out a highly publicized game in Hong Kong last week with injury intensifies. Beijing's football association made the announcement, halting a friendly between Argentina and Ivory Coast, a day after Hangzhou sports authorities also canceled a friendly between Argentina and Nigeria. "Beijing does not plan, for the moment, to organize the match in which Lionel Messi was to participate," the Beijing Football Association said in a statement to local media. Why is Messi in Asia, and what's all the fuss about? Messi is touring Asia with his relatively new club, Inter Miami - owned by former England midfielder David Beckham - and his national team for what was meant to be a series of money-spinning friendlies before the start of the Major League Soccer season in the US later this month. The mood soured further still a few days later when Messi was able to come off the substitutes' bench and play the last 30 minutes of a friendly in Tokyo, Japan. This prompted questions on whether Messi had been snubbing Hong Kong - including from some nationalist Chinese politicians and publications - and led to the term "Medical miracle" trending on Chinese social media.

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