Lionel Messi to Play in China? Chinese Mayor Confirms Argentina Friendly After Cristiano Ronaldo & Al Nassr Postpone Tour

Published 01/24/2024, 4:05 AM EST

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via Reuters

Despite Chinese fans desperately waiting to see some ‘GOAT’ action, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have recently disappointed them. Inter Miami had planned to tour China, only to cancel the fixture later. CR7 even reached Shanghai, but Al Nassr later gave up the friendly plans because of his injury. However, per recent updates, Chinese fans are now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. Hangzhou City’s deputy Mayor has now confirmed the city will host Lionel Messi and his World Cup-winning Argentina team in a friendly campaign.

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This year we are actively planning many international competitions, some of which are being actively coordinated and will arrive at our doorstep. For example, in March this year, Argentina’s national team, of course, with Messi as well, will come to Hangzhou to play soccer, said Hangzhou City Vice Mayor Chen Weiqiang, as compiled by TV Azteca (translated by DeepL). Interestingly, per prior updates, Lionel Messi will miss Inter Miami matches on March 16 and 23 to play friendlies for Argentina.

However, the Albiceleste has not confirmed which teams they will play in March. Nor have they confirmed the venue for the campaign. Now that the Chinese Mayor has let the cat out of the bag, we could see Lionel Messi and Co. drop off in China before they head to the US for the Copa America. This will indeed be a huge sigh of relief for fans in China, considering both Inter Miami and Al Nassr canceled their matches.

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Why Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr pulled off from China tours

Inter Miami canceled their 2-game tour to China after the tour promoter NSN called the tour quits, citing the untimely demise of Premier Li Keqiang. NSN assured they will continue their effort to bring the MLS side to China. But neither the Herons nor NSN have since then spoken of a China tour. In the current context, La Pulga and Co. just played pre-season friendlies against the El Salvador National Team and FC Dallas. Now, they await a clash against Cristiano Ronaldo and Al Nassr, which is at risk!

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It is at risk because CR7 has picked up a muscle injury. It is because of this same injury that Al Nassr had to drop their fixtures against Shanghai Shenhua and Shenzhen FC. Both Al Nassr and Ronaldo apologized to Chinese fans and assured them to return later.

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In less than a week, the much-coveted Al Nassr-Inter Miami match will kick off. The 38-year-old and Co. perhaps withdrew from the Chinese clash to not further aggravate the injury and risk meeting Lionel Messi. Anyhow, thanks to Hangzhou City and its Deputy Mayor, possibly the Argentina friendly comes as a breather for Chinese soccer fans who are still recovering from Al Nassr’s unexpected departure.

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Written by:

Krishna Prasad M

718Articles

One take at a time

My journey as a sports aficionado was not colored by soccer initially. The 2006 FIFA World Cup, however, changed me, as I fell in love with the beautiful game. From cheering on Real Madrid to channeling an inner analyst with my pals during every other World Cup and kicking the ball timelessly, soccer is now a therapy for me with boundless conversations.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz

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