Inter Miami CF is honored to have been able to visit Hong Kong. To be welcomed by nearly 80,000 people in a two-day span, between the Club’s open training session and the match against the Hong Kong Team, was extraordinary and something our Club and our players will always remember.
Despite our best intentions, we understand there has been disappointment over the absence of Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez in Sunday’s match and we are sorry that the two players could not participate. We also recognize that the late decision caused frustration among our Hong Kong supporters and the event promoter, Tatler Asia. We do feel it necessary to express that injuries are unfortunately a part of the beautiful game, and our player’s health must always come first. We also want to reassure you that the players that represent our Club always want to play, as you heard from Messi in Tuesday’s press conference in Tokyo.
On Sunday, the Club opted to make a game-time decision. Doing this offered the largest window of time to allow for the chance that the two players could be made available for selection. The goal was always for them to play, which was why they were both included in the initial roster that was submitted to the promoter prior to the match. We could have ruled out the players before but with our best intentions we waited until the last moments, which further emphasizes our commitment to try everything possible.
Messi did not go out to warm up because he was still being assessed in the locker room prior to the match. From there, it was deemed too risky for him to play. Ultimately, the circumstances required that both players be withheld from participating in the match, as the medical staff advised it would have been a risk to their health.
We want to express our gratitude to Tatler Asia for their dedication and hard work in making our Hong Kong experience possible. The organizers did everything they could to put on a wonderful event, yet players get injured in football and this is no one's fault. It is one part of the beautiful game that is cruel, and impacted our visit to Hong Kong on this occasion. As we continue to consume the headlines and negativity towards the different stakeholders, we felt compelled to reiterate the reality of these types of sports injuries.
Hong Kong is a world class destination and a wonderful venue to play football as it can easily draw in people from all over the region given its amazing transport links. It is also full of passionate football supporters who love the game. Inter Miami would be eager to return to beautiful Hong Kong in the future, should the fans be open to receiving the Club again.