June 15, 2024

Lionel Messi, the Argentine football icon, made a brief appearance in Tokyo during Inter Miami’s most recent exhibition match in Asia, providing some much-needed relief after his disappointing absence in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, despite his attempts to inspire his teammates and provide scoring opportunities, the game finished in regulation with a 0-0 draw, forcing Vissel Kobe to win the penalty shootout.

Messi's sad exit shows players are at the bottom of football's power  structure | Lionel Messi | The Guardian

During Inter Miami’s most recent exhibition game in Asia, the legendary Argentine football player Lionel Messi made a brief visit in Tokyo, easing fans’ sadness at his absence from Hong Kong. But despite his attempts to spur his teammates on and generate scoring opportunities, the game finished in a 0-0 draw in regulation, forcing Vissel Kobe to win the penalty shootout.

In the 80th minute, Messi, who was substituted for the last thirty minutes, had two clear-cut opportunities, but the tenacious Vissel Kobe defense stopped them both. The 28,614 spectators at Tokyo’s National Stadium jeered at the 34-year-old global football sensation since he did not take part in the penalty shootout.

The exhibition in Tokyo came after a PR disaster in Hong Kong, where Messi’s groin ailment kept him out of the game the entire time. Certain admirers became so disappointed that they demanded refunds. Messi apologized for the circumstances at a rare press conference he conducted in Tokyo in response to the scandal.
“He (Messi) said he felt good after practice on Tuesday evening, and we agreed he would play 30 minutes,” Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino said on Messi’s appearance in Tokyo. Now that the game is done, we are happy since Messi appeared to be at ease.” Messi did not take a penalty, and Martino did not explain why.

Inter Miami won just one of the six games during their worldwide promotional trip, which also featured stops in Dallas, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong. Messi’s boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys, will play in Florida on February 16 to round out the preseason tour.
Former Barcelona stars like Messi, Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets play for Inter Miami. Another Barcelona icon, Andres Iniesta, who spent several seasons playing in Japan with Vissel Kobe, gave a brief speech to the audience prior to the Tokyo match.
Football fans all over the world were able to see the star-studded Inter Miami lineup thanks to the global tour, but as the club prepares for the new season, they must now work on improving their performance.

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