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The recent no-show by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in Beijing and Hong Kong respectively had yet again got people asking if staging friendly games in this part of the world featuring high-profile marquees like the mentioned duo is a worthwhile investment.

a family of four at the Singapore vs Argentina game at the National Stadium back in 2017
Leo Messi gave Singapore a miss in 2017

There's no doubt that to boost ticket sales, you need a few crowd pullers, and very often, these tickets aren't cheap, but many fans are still willing to pay a hefty price for them.

However, recent games of such nature especially those held after the pandemic suggested fans are not going to splurge like they used to do and are taking a more cautious approach when times are bad.

The recent pre-season games featuring a few top-tier European club sides in Singapore neither saw a packed stadium nor were the tickets being snapped up at a frantic pace.

Notice the empty spaces in the background of the Liverpool-Leicester game in July 2023?
Notice the empty spaces in the background of the Liverpool-Leicester game in July 2023?

Furthermore, those marquee are susceptible to last-minute pull-outs, like the example of Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben who was scheduled to play in Singapore back in 2017's ICCSG but was ruled out last minute due to an injury resulting from a tennis game while on holiday.

I felt sorry for some AS Roma fans who found themselves in a limbo when the Italians did not turn up for their fixture against Tottenham Hotspur last year, due to an agreement dispute with their tour organizers.

So like what was asked at the start of the post - is it still a worthwhile investment to stage pre-season friendly games for these marquee names given such uncertainty?

(P.S.: Click and have a look at the Youtube clip placed above as South China Morning Post pulls no punch in their assessment of the recent Messy Messi saga in Hong Kong)

- 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒎𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒓 đ’đ’ 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒎'𝒔 𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒎 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒆𝒍 -


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