Saudi Arabia has announced that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are expected to meet in a friendly match between Inter Miami and Al Nassr in February.
The match, which it has been announced will take place as part of the Riyadh Season Cup, could be the last time both men face each other in their playing careers. It’s about to happen the first week of February next year has THE Kingdom Arena.
A declaration of Turki Alalshikh, president of Saudi General Entertainment Authority, said: “We I look forward to welcoming everyone from Inter Miami in February for the Riyadh Season Cupwhich will bring together a number of the biggest international stars from the three competing clubs.
“The enthusiasm and global interest we hope to generate with this tournament develops one of our main aspirations for Riyadh Season – create international events that visitors to Riyadh and fans around the world can all enjoy it.
Messi, 36, played the majority of his career at Barcelona while Ronaldo, 38, fronted the Argentina international during his successful move to Real Madrid after leaving Manchester United in 2009.
Between 2008 and 2017, only Messi or Ronaldo won the men’s Ballon d’Or, the award given to the player considered the best in Europe.
Messi last played against Ronaldo when his former team Paris Saint-Germain played against the Saudi All-Stars in January this year. Both players scored in the match.
Inter Miami signed Messi in July on a two-and-a-half-year deal. He had attracted interest from former club Barcelona and clubs in Saudi Arabia. Ronaldo, meanwhile, joined Al Nassr in January after United mutually terminated his contract.
How did Messi perform in MLS?
Messi joined Major League Soccer following his release from PSG before making his debut for David Beckham’s Miami franchise – and scoring from an 89th-minute free kick – in July.
Messi went on to help the club win the 2023 Leagues Cup title in a fairytale start, but missed several games in September and October, with what was initially described as fatigue being confirmed more late as a muscle injury.
Miami would end up missing the playoffs and finish 14th in the Eastern Conference.
He returned to action with Argentina during last month’s international break and won a record eighth Ballon d’Or in Paris earlier this month.
Why Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or and what it means for MLS
Why is Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia?
After a dramatic exit from Manchester United and an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr on December 30.
In doing so, he became the highest-paid player in football history, with the contract earning him around £173 million ($210 million) per year.
He helped Al Nassr finish in second place in his debut season, scoring 14 goals in 16 matches.
Rejection, revenge and soft power: behind the scenes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia
Ronaldo’s decision was followed later in June this year by the announcement that the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) would take control of four SPL teams.
PIF – which owns an 80 per cent stake in Premier League side Newcastle United – controls 75 per cent of the four SPL teams (Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Al Hilal and Al Nassr), with the remaining 25 per cent controlled by an unaffiliated company. for-profit organization.
A number of global superstars followed Ronaldo in the summer transfer window, including Karim Benzema, Neymar, Roberto Firmino and N’golo Kante, and it remains to be seen whether more will follow when the winter window s will open in January.
How does this game benefit Inter Miami?
Analysis by Paul Tenorio
It’s no surprise to see Inter Miami take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves when Lionel Messi plays for your team. Just as the LA Galaxy toured Asia several times when David Beckham was playing in MLS, Inter Miami is clearly looking to strengthen the brand globally around Messi.
An expected tour to China has been canceled, but this match will certainly grab headlines and headlines for Inter Miami and MLS. The match appears set to be played in the first week of February, and although Inter Miami has qualified for the CONCACAF Champions Cup, which begins on February 6, it has received a bye into the round of 16, which will not be played until March.
Inter Miami is set to begin pre-season on January 10 and sporting director Chris Henderson said the club is looking to schedule home and international friendlies.
“He sold himself to the devil” – Messi, 2030 and a very uncomfortable deal with Saudi Arabia
(BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)