Inter Miami say their China tour this month has been cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
The team, which was eliminated from the Major League Soccer play-offs, had announced last month that they would friendly fixtures against Qingdao Hainiu on November 5 and then another Chinese Super League side, Chengdu Rongcheng, in Chengdu on November 8.
Lionel Messi, who has just won an eighth Ballon d’Or, was a central figure on the club’s social media announcement.
But Inter Miami said on Wednesday: “The tour promoter, NSN, has informed Inter Miami CF of the cancellation of its China Tour due to unforeseen circumstances in China.
“Inter Miami’s ambition remains to expand its global reach by playing in front of incredible fans from across the globe; the club will continue to explore future opportunities with NSN to achieve this goal.”
NSN expressed “regret” and said that the cancellation was due to the recent death for former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
The trip to China was set to be the first international tour for Inter Miami, with the club’s chief business officer, Xavier Asensi, speaking of a desire to “share the passion as we reach new audiences”.
Messi helped the club to the 2023 Leagues Cup title in a stellar start, but missed several games in September and October as his club’s play-off push faltered, with what was initially described as fatigue being later confirmed as a muscle injury.
He returned to action with Argentina during last month’s international break and collected a record-extending Ballon d’Or prize in Paris earlier this week.
Lionel Messi, the Ballon d’Or and the future of American soccer
(Photo: Getty Images)