close
Thursday February 29, 2024

Beijing cancels Argentina friendly as Messi fallout continues

By REUTERS
February 11, 2024

BEIJING: Argentina’s friendly against Ivory Coast, scheduled to be held in Beijing in March, has been cancelled, the Chinese city’s football association said on Saturday, following a backlash against Lionel Messi’s failure to play in a match in Hong Kong. 

Argentine footballer Lionel Messi can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
Argentine footballer Lionel Messi can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

Beijing’s announcement came a day after Hangzhou’s sports authorities also cancelled a friendly between Argentina and Nigeria after Messi’s failure to play for Inter Miami in Hong Kong on Sunday caused widespread anger among fans.

“Beijing does not plan, for the moment, to organise the match in which Lionel Messi was to participate,” the Beijing Football Association said in a statement to local media.

Messi, who did not play in the friendly in Hong Kong due to a reported injury, appeared as a second-half substitute on Wednesday in Inter Miami’s friendly against Vissel Kobe in Tokyo. —Reuters