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After being asked to go elsewhere by China following Lionel Messi’s recent withdrawal from Inter Miami, Argentina’s world champions will play two friendlies in the USA.


After being forced to look elsewhere by China following the recent withdrawal of Lionel Messi, who was accused of trying to humiliate China by not playing in a friendly with Inter Miami in Hong Kong on February 4, world champions Argentina will play their two March friendlies in the USA.


Lionel Scaloni’s men will face El Salvador in Philadelphia on March 22 and Nigeria in Los Angeles on March 26. Argentina were originally scheduled to play Nigeria in Hangzhou and Côte d’Ivoire in Beijing.


A few days after his withdrawal, Messi played 30 minutes in a friendly match in Japan. Chinese indignation then redoubled. The influential Global Times newspaper suggested that foreign forces had conspired to damage Hong Kong’s reputation.


One theory is that (Messi’s)actions were politically motivated, in that Hong Kong wanted to boost the economy through this event, and that outside forces deliberately wanted to humiliate Hong Kong with this incident,” noted the nationalist media outlet. This hypothesis cannot be ruled out.”