Inter Miami and Lionel Messi lost their first preseason friendly in Saudi Arabia to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal. The seven-goal contest included a penalty kick goal from Lionel Messi and the first goal in an Inter Miami kit for Luis Suarez. However, it was the Saudi side that scored the decisive goal in the 88th minute courtesy of another one of Messi’s former teammates. Malcom, who played one season at FC Barcelona, scored to give the hosts a 4-3 win on the night.

Al Hilal is one of the sides that made several lavish signings in the summer to bolster the profile of the Saudi Pro League. Therefore, Inter Miami went up against players like Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Aleksandar Mitrović. The latter of which scored in the game.

That was part of an early outburst of goals from Al Hilal. Mitrović scored in the 10th minute. Then, three minutes later, Abdullah Al-Hamdan scored to make it a two-goal lead. Luis Suarez pulled Inter Miami back into the game by scoring a tap-in. Originally, referees flagged the play for offside. After review, Suarez was narrowly onside to secure his first goal wearing the pink kit of Inter Miami. Still, Al Hilal entered the halftime break with a two-goal lead after Brazilian winger Michael scored in the 44th minute.

Inter Miami pulls level, but Messi and company fall to Al Hilal

David Ruiz, one of the Inter Miami academy players, made a huge impact on the game in the second half. Ruiz drew the penalty just after five minutes had gone by in the second half. Messi stepped up and confidently buried the shot in the top right corner of the goal. One minute after Messi halved Al Hilal’s lead, David Ruiz scored a gem of a goal. The Honduras international cut inside the box onto his right foot before powering a low shot that beat Hbib Alwotayan in the Al Hilal net.

The game remained level at three until the game neared its conclusion. Yasir Al Shahrani floated a cross into the Inter Miami box where Malcon met the ball with a thunderous header. Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender could only get the tips of his fingers on the ball, and he could not keep the header out. The goal proved the difference on the night for Al Hilal.

Messi vs. Ronaldo for one last time

Inter Miami will stay in Saudi Arabia with another game against a Saudi Pro League side on Thursday. This time, it is the much-anticipated match against Cristiano Ronaldo and Al Nassr. Originally, there were injury concerns from Ronaldo that ruled him out of Al Nassr’s friendlies in China. However, the hope is that he will be available when his side plays Inter Miami.

Our Pick:

Includes: Every regular season game, MLS Cup Playoffs, Leagues Cup, & More
Sign Up
 

In all likelihood, that will be the last time Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo play out one of their patented duels against one another. It is also the main reason Inter Miami is playing in Saudi Arabia. While Al Hilal did not have Neymar due to his injury suffered on international duty, the main draw of the Riyadh Seasons Cup was Messi against Ronaldo.

That game is Thursday, Feb. 1, at 1 p.m. ET. Coverage is available on MLS Season Pass.

PHOTOS: IMAGO