Inter Miami played a Hong Kong XI in a pre-season fixture ahead of the new Major League Soccer campaign and nearly 40,000 supporters had bought tickets to watch Messi in action.
However, Argentina’s World Cup winner was left on the bench as his continues to manage a hamstring injury.
Fans inside the Hong Kong Stadium, some of whom had paid over £200 for a ticket, booed when it became clear that Messi would not play in the game, while Beckham was jeered by supporters during his post-match speech.
But speaking on Tuesday, Messi was keen to reassure fans in Hong Kong that he would’ve taken part in the game if he wasn’t suffering from injury.
‘Unfortunately in football things can happen in any game, that we may have an injury. It happened to me,’ Messi said.
‘I couldn’t play in the Hong Kong match, and it was a shame because I always wanted to participate, I wanted to be there and even more so when it came to these matches.
‘When we travelled so far and people were so excited to see our matches. I hope we can return and we play another game and I can play as I do whenever I can.
‘But the truth is that it was a game that I was not able to participate.’
Inter Miami will play Vissel Kobe at the Japan National Stadium on Wednesday before facing Messi’s former club Newell’s Old Boys in Florida next Friday.
Inter Miami’s new MLS campaign kicks off against Real Salt Lake on February 22.
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