Saudi Arabia has announced that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will meet in a friendly match between Inter Miami and Al Nasser in February.
The match, which the announcement said will take place as part of the Riyadh Season Cup, will be the last time the pair face each other in their playing careers. It is set to happen. The first week of February next year as if of Kingdom Arena.
Statement from Chairman of Turkish Alshik Saudi General Entertainment Authority “We Looking forward to welcoming everyone from Inter Miami in February Cup for Riyadh seasonwhich one It will bring together the biggest international stars from all three clubs.
“We expect this competition to create excitement and international interest It expands on one Our main desires b Riyadh season – to create International events visiting Riyadh and Fans around the world can all rejoice.
The Last Dance is a historic match that brings together football legend Ronaldo and Messi.
In the Riyadh Season Cup, Inter Miami Club will play against Al Nasser Club… ⚽❤️🇸🇦
In Kingdom Arena 📌 February 2024
Football greatness is the last dance! 🏆 Ronaldo faced Messi in the field.
Watch Inter Miami FC… pic.twitter.com/3aHtVGtFQI
— Turki Alalshikh (@Turki_alalshikh) November 21, 2023
Messi, 36, played most of his career at Barcelona, while Ronaldo, 38, had a successful spell at Real Madrid following his 2009 move from Manchester United, with the Argentina international.
Between 2008 and 2017, only Messi or Ronaldo lifted the men’s Ballon d’Or – the award given to the best player in Europe.
Messi last played alongside Ronaldo when his former club Paris Saint-Germain played against the Saudi All-Stars in January. Both players scored in the match.
Inter Miami signed Messi on a two-and-a-half-year deal in July. He has attracted interest from former clubs Barcelona and Saudi Arabia. Ronaldo joined Al Nasr after his contract was terminated by United in January.
How did Messi do in MLS?
Messi moved to Major League Soccer following his exit from PSG before making his debut with David Beckham’s Miami franchise and scoring an 89th-minute penalty – in July.
Messi has made a fairytale start to help the club to the 2023 League Cup title, but he missed several games in September and October after what was initially described as fatigue, which was later confirmed as a muscle injury.
Miami would eventually miss the postseason and finish 14th in the Eastern Conference.
He returned to action against Argentina last month after an international break and collected a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or award 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?
Following his dramatic exit from Manchester United and an interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Saudi Pro League club Al Nasser on 30 December.
This made him the highest paid player in football history, earning him £173m (£210m) a year in the deal.
He scored 14 goals in 16 games and helped Al Nasr finish second in his first season.
Rejection, Revenge and Soft Power: Inside Cristiano Ronaldo’s Journey to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasser
Ronaldo’s move follows the fact that in June of this year, the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) will control four teams in the SPL.
PIF – which owns 80 per cent of Premier League side Newcastle United – controls 75 per cent of the four SPL teams (Al Ahly, Al Ittihad, Al Hilal and Al Nasr), with the remaining 25 per cent held by a non-controlled profit organisation.
A number of world star players have followed Ronaldo in the summer transfer window, including Karim Benzema, Neymar, Roberto Firmino and N’Golo Kante, and he is expected to find out more when the January window opens.
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 come with Lionel Messi playing for your team. Just as David Beckham did with the LA Galaxy on several Asian tours while playing in MLS, Inter Miami is clearly looking to grow the brand around Messi internationally.
An expected trip to China has been canceled, but this game will certainly generate more headlines and exposure for Inter Miami and MLS. The match looks set to take place in the first week of February and Inter Miami will welcome the Round of 16 match, which will not take place until March, even though the CONCACAF Championship is over for February 6.
Inter Miami is set to begin pre-season on January 10 and sporting director Chris Henderson says the club is looking to book friendlies both domestically and internationally.
‘Sold himself to Satan’ – Messi, 2030 and a very uncomfortable deal with Saudi Arabia
(Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)