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China cancels a match with Argentina after Messi’s episode in Hong Kong

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China cancels a match with Argentina after Messi’s episode in Hong Kong

The decision to cancel the Argentina national team soccer match hosted by a mainland Chinese city has caused controversy after the backlash against star player Lionel Messi. The criticism stemmed from an exhibition match for his Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami, in Hong Kong in which Messi was left on the bench, disappointing the sell-out crowd of 40,000. Despite stating that he wished to play but was unable to due to injury, Messi faced criticism on the Chinese Internet. As a result, the Hangzhou Sports Bureau announced the cancellation of a friendly match between Argentina and Nigeria that was scheduled to be held at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center. The second planned match against Ivory Coast in Beijing remains on the schedule. The situation has created a public relations nightmare for Messi in China, where he previously enjoyed great popularity. The match organizer announced a refund of 50% of ticket prices, resulting in significant financial losses. His subsequent appearance in a friendly match in Japan only exacerbated the situation, leading to further backlash and disappointment among Chinese fans and event organizers.

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