Major League Soccer team Inter Miami CF arrived in the city today to play an exhibition match against the Hong Kong team at Hong Kong Stadium on Sunday.

The all-star line-up including Lionel Messi, the newly signed Luis Suárez as well as teammates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets received a warm welcome at the airport.

Fans gathered at the airport and the hotel where the team is staying for a glimpse of their football idols. One of them was Ahad Ahmed, who had created a special banner to attract his favourite player's attention.

“It says 'Messi' and 'una foto por favor', which means 'can I have one photo please?' Meeting Messi - one of the biggest idols of my life - would be the biggest accomplishment in my life,” he said. 

At a pre-match press conference this evening with the team's head coach, player Luis Suárez said he was impressed by the landscape of Hong Kong when he caught a bird’s eye view of the city from the team’s private jet.

Mega event

Inter Miami’s exhibition match against the Hong Kong team will take place on Sunday at 4pm, at Hong Kong Stadium. Fans who have been unable to get a ticket can watch a free live broadcast of the match on television.

Secretary for Culture, Sports & Tourism Kevin Yeung noted that besides co-ordinating and planning the event, the Government had also awarded it “M” Mark status and earmarked a matching grant of $16 million and other support measures for the organiser, Tatler Asia.

“It is very obvious that this major match will bring happiness to the people of Hong Kong. With a major event of this scale, this will bring Hong Kong back to the map of the world. I am sure that the international tourists who are coming over for this match will also take time to enjoy various aspects of Hong Kong, including our wonderful cuisine, also our special cultural environment,” Mr Yeung said. 

Tatler Asia, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, expressed optimism about holding mega events in the city.

Its Chairman & CEO Michel Lamunière said: “We thought that Hong Kong really needed the best of the best. When it comes to sports, one name really resonated - it was Messi. It was Inter Miami.” 

“We (Hong Kong) have great infrastructure. We have a fantastic airport, great MTR train stations. Also, we have a cosmopolitan city. We have people coming from all over the world. And there is a sense of excellence in Hong Kong. I think that that is what is very important for a team like Inter-Miami and international players that they know there is a certain level of competence and trust when they come to a city.” 

Sports inspiration

Inter Miami's open training session will take place tomorrow at 5.30pm. The Government has distributed 15,000 free tickets for members of various sports and youth groups to watch the event, including Laureus Sport for Good and the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.

A football clinic will also be held where young footballers will learn from both teams.

Chairman of The Football Association of Hong Kong, China Eric Fok said the weekend’s series of events will help to promote the development of football in Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong football players are very excited because (the match) gives them an opportunity to interact with and play against the best teams and best players in the world. It gives them the idea that anything is possible in Hong Kong and gives them more motivation in their career path.” 

He added that the association has organised a training camp the day before the match, which highlights a very important message of how football can inspire young people.


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