Beckham’s Memeworthy Moment: Inter Miami’s PR Disaster in Hong Kong as Messi Misses Match

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Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (Credits: Essentially Sport)

A meme featuring David Beckham, extracted from Netflix’s recent documentary on the football icon, has gained traction on social media. Recognizable to many, it humorously depicts Beckham urging Victoria Beckham to be honest about her privileged upbringing.

However, in the aftermath of this weekend’s events, a role reversal may be in order, with David Beckham now needing to “be honest” about the challenges Inter Miami, the team he co-owns, faced during their recent match on the global pre-season tour.

Inter Miami, led by Beckham, competed against a Hong Kong select team this Sunday. The on-field outcome was a satisfactory 4-1 victory for the MLS side, achieved without star player Lionel Messi taking the field. Messi, dressed casually on the bench throughout the game, did not contribute a single minute, causing a significant public relations debacle.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (Credits: All Football)

Approximately 40,000 Hong Kong fans, some having spent considerable sums ranging from $112 to $570 for tickets, attended the match with high expectations of witnessing Messi in action.

As the match progressed, and Messi seemed increasingly unlikely to participate, the crowd expressed their disappointment with boos and demands for refunds, resonating loudly in the Hong Kong Stadium. When Beckham himself stepped onto the field, typically well-liked in Asia, the boos intensified.

Inter Miami later clarified that Messi and teammate Luis Suárez, another superstar, were sidelined due to injuries, and risking them before the upcoming MLS season kickoff on February 22 was not a viable option. However, this crucial information was not communicated to the local fans before the match, leading to confusion and frustration.

This situation mirrors the experiences of MLS fans from the previous season when Messi, after joining Inter Miami, occasionally missed games due to injuries.

Despite these instances, Messi’s time in the U.S. has generally been positively received, with widespread public approval, as evident in the Apple TV+ documentary series “Messi Meets America” and Super Bowl ads. Apple has also provided extensive coverage of Inter Miami’s world tour.

However, the disappointment in Hong Kong marked a stark contrast, with enraged fans expressing their fury on social media. Some went as far as destroying promotional materials featuring Messi, directing their anger towards Beckham, Inter Miami, and event organizer Tatler Asia.

For Hong Kong, hosting the exhibition match was a significant event supported by the government, which allocated $1.92 million in funds and an additional $128,000 subsidy to Tatler Asia.

The organizers spared no expense in promoting the match, starting a campaign month in advance with Messi as the central figure. The contract even stipulated that Messi would play a minimum of 45 minutes unless ill or injured.

However, signs of trouble emerged when Inter Miami displayed reluctance during the official welcoming ceremony, and Messi made sporadic appearances at the open training session. Post-match, the blame game ensued, with the government expressing disappointment and considering possible repercussions for the organizer.

Tatler Asia, in response to fan backlash, expressed extreme disappointment at Messi and Suárez’s non-participation, emphasizing their lack of prior knowledge about the players’ unavailability.

As Inter Miami’s global tour is set to continue, fans are left demanding transparency amid reports suggesting the cancellation of the upcoming match against Vissel Kobe in Japan and an early return home.


By James Brown

A passionate and driven individual currently pursuing a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Born on 06 February, hails from Raipur, where their journey into the world of technology and creativity began.

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