Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi

Yesterday’s benching of Lionel Messi during a friendly match has sparked widespread protests among football enthusiasts in Hong Kong, leaving fans questioning the official explanation provided by the team.

Lionel Messi on the bench during the match

Despite paying as much as $300 to witness the global football sensation in action, fans were disappointed to see Messi sidelined, and their frustration escalated when the team’s management cited fitness concerns as the reason for the decision. The official explanation, stating that Messi was not fit to play, has been met with skepticism among supporters who had eagerly anticipated his performance.

The disappointed fans during the match

Social media erupted with expressions of disappointment, with the hashtag #FreeMessi gaining traction as fans voiced their doubts about the fitness explanation. Many questioned the timing of the decision and whether there were undisclosed factors influencing the team’s choice to keep Messi off the field.


Local sports analysts and commentators joined the discourse, discussing the impact of sidelining a player of Messi’s caliber and speculating on the potential repercussions for the team’s relationship with its Hong Kong fanbase. The controversy has added a layer of tension to the aftermath of the match, prompting calls for transparency from the team’s management.

As fans eagerly await an official statement addressing their concerns, the controversy surrounding Messi’s benching is poised to leave a lasting impact on the team’s reputation among supporters in the region.

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