For potentially the last time, Lionel Messi will face Cristiano Ronaldo as Al-Nassr welcomes Inter Miami in a club friendly. On Tuesday, Riyadh Season, an annual sports and entertainment festival, announced a friendly between the two clubs in February of this year. It is part of the Riyadh Seasons Cup. The friendly fixture will be in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Al-Hilal, another team in Saudi Arabia, will compete in the friendly games. Neymar would be playing, but he will be nursing an ACL injury in February.
Inter Miami friendlies have been a hot commodity for clubs around the world with Messi in the fold. Originally, Inter Miami scheduled a pair of games in China. However, that fell through because of the organizing group responsible for the games. Even though those games were scheduled for this month, Inter Miami will still be in its offseason in February. The MLS regular season for 2024 does not have a finite start date. In all likelihood, it will start in late February.
At the time of the games in February, Al-Nassr will be in the middle of its season. Currently, the Saudi club is second in the Saudi Pro League table behind Al-Hilal. Following the trend of European soccer, the season ends in late May 2024. This game against Inter Miami will be a major matchup for Al-Nassr, though, as the club continues to push its global popularity.
Inter Miami and Al-Nassr present Messi and Ronaldo in ‘Last Dance’
The press release for the Riyadh Season Cup called this meeting between the two icons the ‘Last Dance’ on the field. That phrase has been cast around for several players and matchups like this. Yet, few would compare to the stature that players like Ronaldo and Messi have. Despite the nature of an international friendly and Al-Hilal’s participation. The main draw from both Inter Miami and Al-Nassr is Messi and Ronaldo sharing a field.
The two top talents of their time have met throughout their careers. When Ronaldo was a budding star at Manchester United, he and the Red Devils faced a young Messi at Barcelona in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League semifinal. Then, they met the next year for the same clubs in the UEFA Champions League Final. Ronaldo then moved to Real Madrid, which made their matchups frequent. At times, Messi had the upper hand. However, Ronaldo led Real Madrid to great success in his time.
Their abilities as players made them the central topic of soccer debates. Some prefer Ronaldo, some prefer Messi. Almost everyone can agree that they are both legends in the history of the game. In their head-to-head battles in all competitions, both players have 23 goals. Messi does have more assists and wins in those 37 games between the two, though.
Another meeting in Saudi Arabia
Their next clash in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be their last. The last time the two played was also a charitable game as part of the Riyadh Season. Both Messi and Ronaldo scored as PSG defeated the All-Stars of Riyadh in a friendly, 5-4. This event has multiple games, which means more action for fans to watch in Saudi Arabia as opposed to one game.
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