Lionel Messi is not sure if he will be fit to play in Inter Miami's pre-season friendly in Japan this week. Two days ago, furious fans in Hong Kong booed Messi and club co-owner David Beckham, shouting "Refund", as the Argentinian didn't start or come as a sub for the friendly.
"I don't know if I can (play) or not but I feel a lot better and really want to do it," Messi told the reporters ahead of their match against Vissel Kobe on Wednesday. "This afternoon we're going to practise, we'll try again. I have a good feeling, compared to how I was," he added.
Excitement has been building for the friendly and Tokyo's National Stadium is getting ready with Inter Miami's pink colours. Tickets for the Japan leg of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club's globe-trotting pre-season tour cost between 10,000 yen ($68) and 200,000 yen ($1,346) with "special experience" packages priced even higher.
A crowd of nearly 40,000 in Hong Kong who paid for similarly expensive tickets left out the field in disappointment after Messi stayed at the bench during their 4-1 win against a local select XI. The Hong Kong government also demanded for an explanation from the match's organizers.
"It was really bad luck that I couldn't play in Hong Kong," Messi said. "Unfortunately this happens in football, in any game it can happen that you can't play," he added.
"I always want to participate, I want to play, especially in these games where we travel so far and people want to see our games. I hope we can return and play a game in Hong Kong."