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China Fumes Over Messi, Cancels Argentina Friendly With Ivory Coast

Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi sparked a massive uproar in China when he didn't play during a friendly in Hong Kong but seemingly had not problem performing soon after in Japan. Philip FONG / AFP

Chinese authorities in the eastern city of Hangzhou are so upset with soccer superstar Lionel Messi that they’ve decided to cancel a match of his scheduled for next month. This follows the Argentinian forward’s refusal to play during an exhibition match in Hong Kong last week, purportedly due to injury, only to play a few days later in Japan.

“In view of the current well-known reasons, according to the competent authorities, conditions to hold the friendly match are not mature, therefore (we) have decided to cancel it,” the Hangzhou authorities said in a short statement.

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