David Beckham angers crowd of 40K people who paid big money to see Messi

Fans were booing Beckham as he tried to give a speech of thanks.

David Beckham booed for Messi absence
© Jo Hale / UNSPLASH
David Beckham booed for Messi absence

The Beckhams never fail to peak the public’s curiosity, even for those of us who aren’t into football or fashion; there was the Netflix documentary dragging up old drama, the secret multi million legal war, and now we have the booing. Not sure what we’re talking about? Well, buckle up, because this story also involves footballing legend Lionel Messi and thousands of angry fans.

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Messi is another sports personality who has taken the world by storm. With a remarkable story behind his marriage to Antonela Roccuzzo and an incredible career in the beautiful game, he has something for every member of the family to love. However, it was this fierce adoration of Messi that got Beckham into a sticky spot over the weekend. Here’s everything you need to know.

Fans booed Beckham

Picture the scene: we’re in Hong Kong for an Inter Miami match against Hong Kong XI and there are 40,000 fans waiting with baited breath to see Messi play. Some have paid as much as $460 for a glimpse of their footballer hero. Except Messi doesn’t play. He doesn't even make it off the bench, reportedly due to injury.

The match was a great success for Inter Miami who won 4-1, but afterwards fans were chanting ‘refund’ as Beckham held the mic to give a thank you speech. Beckham, the president and co-owner of the American soccer franchise, went on to say:

It means a lot because to see these great players play inspires a lot of young children in this country and around the world. I hope one day we will be back to entertain you. Hong Kong, thank you very much. I will see you soon. Thank you.

Why didn’t Messi play?

Even at half time, fans were chanting, ‘We want Messi!’ - but there was no reaction from the football legend or his management. The Hong Kong government said the match organisers Tatler Asia may receive less funding due to his absence. Kevin Yeung, the sports minister, said that the funding agreement was laid out under the understanding that Messi would play for a minimum of 45 minutes, unless there were safety or health concerns.

Despite reports of Messi suffering from an injured hamstring, the organisers said that Messi would play in the second half before the match had even started. When that didn’t go as planned, the government persisted:

We therefore immediately request them to explore other remedies such as Messi appearing in the field to interact with his fans and receiving the trophy. Unfortunately, as you all see, these did not work out.

Messi’s injury

Fans were, understandably, very upset. One supporter, who paid $460, was particularly cross. Antony Osazee explained:

I came for the training and just saw him doing stretches. Messi isn't a supermodel. People don't pay just to watch him sit.

Messi reportedly sat off because of a tight hamstring, but he did play for 7 minutes on Thursday in Saudi Arabia - and reports stated that he’d had an MRI scan before that game about a suspected injury. Despite the fact that there was an obvious chance Messi wouldn’t be playing in Hong Kong, his presence had been used a lot in the advertising campaign for tickets.

The Hong Kong government has promised to take action, explaining that ‘the organiser owes all football fans an explanation’:

The Major Sports Events Committee will take follow-up action with the organizer according to the terms and conditions, which includes reducing the amount of funding as a result of Messi not playing the match.

Miami finishes its Asia tour on Wednesday, when they’ll face Vissel Kobe. Let's hope that match is little less - ahem - messy.

Read more:

⋙ Lionel Messi's wife Antonela Roccuzzo supports Shakira in her split from Gerard Piqué

⋙ Franz Beckenbauer: German football legend dies aged 78

⋙ Marcus Rashford caught in fiery 3 AM fight with secret lover as ex-girlfriend thrives post-split
Sources used:

Daily Mail: David Beckham is BOOED and 40,000 angry fans chant 'refund' after Lionel Messi was left on the bench during Inter Miami's pre-season win over a Hong Kong XI

Sky News: David Beckham booed and angry fans demand refund after Lionel Messi sits out match

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