FANS who paid “exorbitant amounts” to watch Lionel Messi play were left fuming when he didn’t turn up to this weekend’s match.
The superstar footballer, 36, has taken the MLS by storm since his high-profile transfer to Inter Miami this summer with 11 goals in 11 games.
GettyLionel Messi missed Inter Miami’s trip to Atlanta United[/caption]
Tickets for matches are selling for hundreds if not thousands of dollars, with supporters and A-list celebrities alike desperate to watch the icon in action.
However, those who stumped up big cash expressed their frustration when it became clear he would not feature for his new side away at Atlanta United last night.
Not only did Messi not take to the artificial field at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but he did not even make the journey to Georgia.
That is because he had just been on international duty with Argentina where he left the World Cup qualifier against Ecuador early and missed the Bolivia game – but did take his place on the world champions’ bench as an assistant manager.
Inter Miami boss Gerardo Martino stated Messi is “fine” and trained on Friday but was clearly unprepared to risk him.
And it came back to haunt the manager as David Beckham’s club were thrashed 5-2.
But fans – many of whom travelled for thousands of miles – were more annoyed about the lack of Messi rather than the result.
One said: “Messi deciding not to travel to Atlanta and missing his first game in the MLS at the event I paid an exorbitant amount to get tickets for is a really bad beat!”
Another wrote: “Learning experience for me. I paid a lot for the tickets to this game. Soccer is one of my least favourite sports.”
A third added: “I spent $750 (£605) for two tickets to watch Messi for the first time in my life but he didn’t travel…”
A fourth commented: “My sister sold her ticket so fast when she found out Messi wasn’t playing
And a final user fumed: “Flights, hotel, scalped tickets… And he’s not playing!”
As his team-mates were in Atlanta to finalise their preparations, Messi was back in Miami, prompting resale tickets for the sold-out fixture to be flogged for as little as £32.
And he spent his Saturday recovering from his controversial pizza on Friday night and watching his son Thiago playing with the Inter Miami academy.
GettyThe Argentine sat out the World Cup qualifier win over Bolivia[/caption]