While Lionel Messi disappointed Hong Kong supporters, they may get a shot at seeing Cristiano Ronaldo live sometime in 2025. Following the near-diplomatic crisis that Inter Miami and Lionel Messi nearly sparked in the area, a Hong Kong official has made an intriguing Cristiano Ronaldo claim.

Inter Miami went on a global preseason tour with stops in Hong Kong, El Salvador, and Saudi Arabia; all that before heading to Asia, the Florida team’s last stop was Japan. They hoped to capitalize on their sudden fame thanks to the Argentine star.

But there was controversy in Hong Kong because, despite promises to the contrary, Argentine star Lionel Messi was unable to participate due to injury. As a result, many of the fans were angry and critical of Inter Miami and the welcoming organizers.

What did Lionel Messi say about Hong Kong saga?

The World Cup victor went so far as to apologize on social media. “I have read and heard many things that were said after the game in Hong Kong. I wanted to record this video to give you the true version and not have to read false things. As you all know I always want to play and be involved in every game. I’ve heard people say that I did not play for political reasons.”

“If that had been the case, then he would not have travelled to Japan or visited China so many times, since I started my career I have had a great relationship with China, from interviews, matches and events, both with Barcelona and the national team.”

“The first match I played in Arabia I felt [an injury], in the second I tried to play and it was worse. I tried to train and make an effort the day before because of all the people there. In fact, I did what I could and was at the clinic with all the kids there. But the truth is I couldn’t play because I felt discomfort and there was a risk of getting worse.”

Hong Kong to invite Messi’s fiercest rival

Even if the drama is almost over, a fresh turn in the story has just arisen. In fact, a plan to invite Ronaldo and Al-Nassr for a friendly is already in the works. That’s according to Pui Kwan-kay, the president of the Hong Kong FA, who spoke to the South China Morning Post.

Given the magnitude of Ronaldo’s rivalry with Messi, the captain of Inter Miami and Argentina, it is not surprising that the tactic has shifted to focus on Ronaldo. Especially because Hong Kong supporters will not get to watch Messi on the field.

“If Al Nassr is going to play exhibition matches in some cities, the expensive fees could be split. I don’t know if Al Nassr will return to China, but [bringing Ronaldo to Hong Kong] is a good idea because he is one of the most popular players,” Kwan-Kay said.

“We also need to think about the other teams [to invite]. Kai Tak [stadium] is opening, so we need some mega events. The HKFA could just take the lead [alongside other parties], or be the organisers, but it’s just too early to say. As of now, we’re only at the stage of consideration and discussion.”

The plan, he said, is to bring in further teams, such as those from the Portuguese First Division or Eastern Europe. Even while he has been mum about CR7 plans, he has said that inviting Inter Miami back next year is not one of them.

“Personally, it is not appropriate to ask about Messi at this time. No priority will be given to him and his team”.

Photo: Imago.