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Lionel Messi denies politics being the reason for not playing in Hong Kong

21 Feb - Lionel Messi is releasing another statement, this time via video, amid the still ongoing fury among Chinese netizens over him not playing at the previous friendly match in Hong Kong.

In a message that he recorded and posted on Weibo, the Argentinian footballer stated that he has heard a lot of rumours and stories about him after the game in Hong Kong and that he decided to record the video to give fans the true version.

"I've heard people say that I didn't want to play for political reasons and many other reasons that are totally untrue. Had that been the case I wouldn't have even travelled to Japan or visited China, as I have many times. Since the start of my career I've had a very close and special relationship with China," he said.

Messi recorded the video to give fans the true version
Messi recorded the video to give fans the true version

He reiterated his previous reason for not playing in Hong Kong against League XI back on 4 February, that he had an inflamed adductor.

"I couldn't play in the first game in Saudi Arabia, which is when I felt it. In the second game I tried to play for a bit, but it got worse. Then on the day before the game [in Hong Kong] I tried to train and made an effort for all those who had come to watch," he said.

Messi stated that the reason he played for a short time in Japan soon after was because he felt a little better, adding, "That's why I played for a bit in Japan to prepare fitness-wise for everything to come because I needed to play and get back up to speed."

He then sent his best wishes to the fans in China and stressed that he will always have a special place for the people in his heart.

Fans were angry over Messi sitting out the game in Hong Kong
Fans were angry over Messi sitting out the game in Hong Kong

(Photo Source: SOHU, AP, Bloomberg)