Social media flooded with angry fans after Messi ditches Vancouver

Soccer fans from Vancouver and across the world are gutted after learning Lionel Messi will not be making the trip to play with Inter Miami against the Whitecaps on Saturday. Fans say they should get a discount on the expensive tickets.

He’s one of the biggest stars on Earth and one of the greatest players to ever play the beautiful game, but after all the hype and hope that he was coming to Vancouver this weekend, Lionel Messi is not.

And fans are not happy about it.

Many have taken to social media to rip apart the soccer legend and express their disappointment with the decision. Some are calling him a “corporate schill,” others say they’re giving him the middle finger from Vancouver, and others want him to be forced to play.

On Thursday afternoon, Inter Miami CF confirmed Messi along with Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets will not play Saturday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.

“I can’t believe it, to be honest with you. I saw the email pop up and I saw there was a statement, and I feared the worst, then all my nightmares came true,” one fan who spoke to CityNews said.

“It’s always been on our bucket list to watch Messi live and we’re gutted, absolutely gutted that it’s not going to happen,” explained that same fan who isn’t sure what the atmosphere will be like at the stadium.

Sportsnet 650 Host Dan Riccio says to a lot of people in Messi’s home country of Argentina, he’s the equivalent of a God.

“So, for Argentinians who may be living in Vancouver, and wanting to go to this game, just people who are genuine soccer fans, this is a huge deal.”

Riccio speculates on why Messi didn’t make the trip to Vancouver.

“Travel. I mean, this is a long flight from Miami. I wouldn’t put it past a player that’s used to taking short plane rides across Europe to play games to be like, ‘What? We have to fly six hours to get to this game?’”

Messi is not hurt but it’s believed he’s resting ahead of COPA America which gets underway next month.

Riccio agrees this isn’t great for fans, but acknowledges this is also terrible news for BC Place, which was expecting about 50,000 fans.

“Selling out BC Place. You’re having a record-breaking crowd for this player. The Whitecaps don’t do these kinds of attendance numbers on the regular, they don’t really open the upper bowl, so this was all on Lionel Messi and now he’s not coming.”

Tickets were going for at least $200 in many cases.

Longtime Whitecaps fan Tom Jamieson says he knew there was a good chance Lionel Messi wouldn’t show up, but he says ticket prices didn’t reflect that.

“In light of that, I would have thought it would have been fairer just to charge a regular ticket price for this particular game, and that’s not what happened. So that’s really what upset me most,” said Jamieson.

Jamieson is calling on other fans to protest during the 10th minute — recalling Messi’s jersey number — of the match by turning their backs to the field and observing a minute of silence.

“I think [a protest is] one way to make the point that fans as a whole are not happy with the situation.”

He says the Whitecaps can make the situation right by giving fans a partial refund for their tickets.

As a consolation, if you can call it that, the Whitecaps have only offered that all food and beverage at the BC Place tomorrow will be half off with anyone under the age of 18 being provided a free kids meal combo.

Peter Czimmermann, president of the Whitecaps Southsiders fan club, says fans should come show their team spirit regardless.
“If you’ve got tickets in whatever way, you should come and see what this is all about, the atmosphere is going to be great, there’s going to be a lot of people,” Czimmermann said.

“And we as supporters do a lot better when there’s more people in the stands.”

The game gets underway Saturday at 7:30, and many tickets have already been resold at a discounted rate.

-With files from Robyn Crawford, Cole Schisler, Angelyna Mintz, and Kate Walker.

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