Messi and Suarez get on the pitch in Japan, further infuriating Hong Kong and questioning the Miami business case

February 9 – After a sensational opening to the Lionel Messi American dream, which soured as 2023 came to a close, the beginning of 2024 has brought forth even more challenges, underscoring the precariousness for both the league and Inter Miami as they pin their performance hopes and business ambition on the Argentinian superstar.

Upon signing the Argentine superstar in July 2023, who lifted the World Cup just six months prior, Inter Miami fandom surged with levels of engagement that saw their opponents shift their home games from the own football specific 20,00+ stadia to NFL venues of 60,000+.

On the pitch Messi turned a losing team into a winning one, surging to the inaugural Leagues Cup – a new MLS vs LigaMX competition that sees all the clubs in both leagues battle for the title. But as the 2023 season ended so Messi’s mercurial powers waned after he picked up a series of injuries that saw him ruled out from the club’s closing matches.

With all the troubles on the pitch, the club’s deepest concern will be the off-pitch consequences of the Argentine’s absences on their parade of their superstar talent through Asia. Inter Miami would not be on this tour and selling out without Messi. But a non-playing Messi was not part of the deal and that is coming back to bite them.

After last Sunday’s match in Hong Kong fans booed and demanded ticket refunds after both Messi and teammate Luis Suárez failed to play due to further injuries.

To make the situation worse, both Messi and Luis Suarez featured in Inter Miami’s shootout loss versus Vissel Kobe in Japan, adding a barrel of gasoline to an already angry fire.

Seething with Messi’s absence in Hong Kong but recovery in time for Japan, State media outlet Global Times accused the footballer and his club Inter Miami of “political motives” with the aim of “embarrassing” Hong Kong.

XFEST Hong Kong, the entity overseeing the Hong Kong event, had already opted to forgo around $2 million in…


Source link : https://www.insideworldfootball.com/2024/02/09/messi-suarez-get-pitch-japan-infuriating-hong-kong-questioning-miami-business-case/

Author : Paul Nicholson

Publish date : 2024-02-09 10:06:01

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