Messi’s Inter Miami vs Ronaldo’s Al Nassr live updates: Friendly team news, line-ups and predictions

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Follow live coverage as Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami take on an Al Nassr side deprived of an injured Cristiano Ronaldo

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Messi vs Ronaldo — start time, stream info and latest team news

A long-awaited return to action for Al Nassr

It has been more than a month since Al Nassr last played a game of football.

Their 4-1 win against Al Taawoun — courtesy of goals from Brozovic, Laporte, Otavio and Ronaldo — was the last match they played and that was on December 30.

There were plans for a tour of China where games against Shanghai Shenhua and Zhejiang had been scheduled, but an injury to Ronaldo forced that trip to be cancelled.

So, before Al Nassr return to the Saudi Pro League this time next week, this game against Inter Miami will be their final match.

Ronaldo: I will retire soon, but soon could be 10 more years

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At the same event, he touched on his retirement.

At the age of 38, the uncomfortable reality is approaching where the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will have to hang up his boots.

But we could be treated to another decade of Ronaldo according to the man himself.

“The moment I finish? I don’t know to be honest, but of course, it will be soon,” he said. “By soon, I mean ten years more. I don’t know, let’s see.”

Ronaldo: Saudi Pro League is more competitive than Ligue 1

And Ronaldo is keen for people to know about the Saudi Pro League.

Speaking at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai a couple of weeks ago, he said: “To be honest, I think the Saudi league is not worse than the French league, in my opinion. In the French league, I think you have two or three teams who are at a good level. In Saudi, I think it is more competitive.

“They can say whatever they want it is just opinion. I have played here for one year so I know what I am talking about. But, I think right now we are better than the French league.”

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Ronaldo: ‘Saudi league is better than Ligue 1’

One year of Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia

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The end of December signaled 12 months since Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabia was announced.

There have been goals, assists, potential red cards and a new frontier of players moving to the Middle East — but how has it gone for the 38-year-old.

The Athletic’s Oli Kay looked into his first year at Al Nassr — check it out below.

GO FURTHER

One year of Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia

The final competitive fixture between Messi and Ronaldo

And that brings us to 2020 and perhaps the last ever competitive fixture between Messi and Ronaldo.

A Champions League group-stage match between Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou which, unfortunately, had to be played in an empty stadium because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On this occasion, it was Ronaldo who stole the headlines as he scored twice in his side’s 3-0 victory.

Messi vs Ronaldo in photos: Pt. 6

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This photo does not hold the significance of the others, but it has become one of the most popular images of the last decade.

The photo itself is not quite reflective of the game itself as Barcelona won 3-0 at the Bernabeu with Messi scoring his side’s second goal.

Battling it out at the Ballon d’Or

Don’t they scrub up well?

A bit different from the usual onfield photos is this one from the 2015 Ballon d’Or ceremony.

Ronaldo had won the two prior to that one, and would go on to win the two after, but had to settle for second behind the Barcelona forward on that occasion.

On international duty

Unfortunately, we have never been treated to Messi vs Ronaldo at a major international tournament.

But there have been two meetings between Argentina and Portugal that the two stars have featured in.

The one pictured is from November 18, 2014. It was in a friendly and Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro scored the only goal of the game at Old Trafford.

A heavyweight Champions League clash

Strangely, Barcelona and Real Madrid have only been drawn against each other in the Champions League four times.

And only one of those coincided with Messi and Ronaldo’s time in La Liga.

It was the semi-final in the 2010-11 season and Barca won 3-1 on aggregate before beating Manchester United by the same scoreline in the final at Wembley.

Messi vs Ronaldo in photos: Pt. 2

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The first La Liga meetings came during the 2009-10 season after Ronaldo secured his world-record switch from United to Real Madrid.

And it was Barcelona who would get the better in both fixtures on their way to the Spanish title.

Messi is seen celebrating in the above photo as he scored the opening goal in Barca’s 2-0 win at the Bernabeu in April 2010.

Messi vs Ronaldo in photos

The first meeting on the pitch between the two players came in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Camp Nou on April 23, 2008.

It ended goalless with Ronaldo missing a penalty before a 1-0 win for Manchester United in the second leg took them through to the Champions League final.

They won that final against Chelsea with Ronaldo scoring United’s only goal on the way to a penalty shootout victory. Although, he did miss his spot kick in the shootout.

Ronaldo injury rules him out of friendly today

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not participate in Al Nassr’s friendly against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami today.

The exhibition match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — where Ronaldo was expected to share the pitch with fellow multiple Ballon d’Or winner and longtime rival Messi — will no longer feature the Portugal international as he continues his recovery from injury.

Al Nassr head coach Luis Castro confirmed the 38-year-old’s absence in a press conference on Wednesday, adding: “Ronaldo is in the final part of his recovery to join the group. We hope that in the next few days, he can start working with the team.”

Ronaldo and Messi have faced each other on 36 previous occasions in their illustrious careers, most notably when they played for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

What else is on Inter Miami’s pre-season schedule?

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Three down, four to go for Inter Miami as they look to get up to speed for the 2024 MLS season which starts, for them, with the visit of Real Salt Lake on Thursday, February 22.

Their tour of Asia takes them to Hong Kong and then Japan before a meeting with Messi’s boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in Fort Lauderdale.

Inter Miami’s pre-season

  • El Salvador 0-0 Inter Miami
  • FC Dallas 1-0 Inter Miami
  • Al Hilal 4-3 Inter Miami
  • Al Nassr vs Inter Miami – Today
  • Hong Kong XI vs Inter Miami – Sunday, February 4
  • Vissel Kobe vs Inter Miami – Wednesday, February 7
  • Inter Miami vs Newell’s Old Boys – Thursday, February 15

Inter Miami’s pre-season Asia tour: Leg 1

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Inter Miami played their third game of pre-season on Monday when they faced Al Hilal at Kingdom Arena.

Following a 0-0 draw with the El Salvador national team and a 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas, they scored their first goal of the pre-season against the Saudi side, but were ultimately beaten.

Former Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic opened the scoring inside 10 minutes and Abdullah Al-Hamdan made it 2-0 not long after. A first Inter Miami goal for Luis Suarez initially halved the deficit before the first of Al-Hilal’s singularly-named Brazilians, Michael, restored the two-goal buffer at half time.

But, the MLS outfit refused to be beaten with Lionel Messi scoring a penalty a minute before David Ruiz made it 3-3.

Unfortunately, though, Al Hilal won the game in the dying minutes with Malcolm calling the game in the seven-goal thriller.

Al Nassr have quality of their own, though

The quality in the Inter Miami is matched by Al Nassr and it should make for a brilliant spectacle.

While the Saudi side are without Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Seko Fofana and Sadio Mane, due to their involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations, there are still some big names in the squad.

Among them are David Ospina, Aymeric Laporte, Alex Telles, Marcelo Brozovic, Otavio and Anderson Talisca.

And Messi won’t be alone this time, either

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This time last year, Messi had Mbappe, Neymar, Ramos and plenty of other world-class players alongside him.

12 months on and he has swapped Paris for Miami. Naturally, the quality in the squad is not quite the same, but he has some familiar faces with him in Riyadh.

And they are faces Ronaldo will know only too well.

Former Barcelona trio Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez are expected to be involved in today’s match for Inter Miami.

The last meeting: Riyadh All-Star XI 4-5 PSG

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Riyadh All Star XI 4-5 PSG

Goalscorers: Cristiano Ronaldo (x2), Hyun-soo Jang, Anderson Talisca; Lionel Messi, Marquinhos, Sergio Ramos, Kylian Mbappe, Hugo Ekitike

In the last post, I mentioned the meeting between the two superstars last season which was played just over a year ago.

It was actually a match played between teams different to those we will see later.

Messi was playing alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain while Ronaldo played in a much weaker side made up of the best players playing in the Saudi Pro League. Which, it is worth reminding you, was before the big investment of last summer.

An enthralling game finished 5-4 in PSG’s favor with both Messi and Ronaldo getting on the scoresheet.

Messi vs Ronaldo: head-to-head record

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With the pair spending their prime years at Spain’s two biggest clubs, they have met plenty of times over the last couple of decades.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, it is Messi who dominates the head-to-head record.

Last season’s meeting between PSG and Riyadh All-Star XI has not been counted as it was a friendly

  • Matches: 36
  • Messi wins: 16
  • Ronaldo wins: 11
  • Draws: 9
  • Messi goals: 22
  • Ronaldo goals: 21
  • Messi assists: 11
  • Ronaldo assists: 1

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How to watch Inter Miami vs Al Nassr

It is pretty simple across the board for today’s game.

It is being shown in most countries via MLS Pass on Apple TV and, for those of you unable to access that platform, there is a good chance you will be able to find the match on beIN Sports.

  • UK: MLS Pass on Apple TV
  • US: MLS Pass on Apple TV
  • Australia: MLS Pass on Apple TV, beIN Sports
  • Canada: MLS Pass on Apple TV
  • Saudi Arabia: MLS Pass on Apple TV, beIN Sports

Where is the match being played?

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Kingdom Arena, Riyadh

This might feel like a home game for Inter Miami as they played here on Monday.

It is actually an arena that fans might recognize more for boxing as it was the venue for the ‘Day of Reckoning’ fight night on December 23.

Compared to the stadia that Messi and Ronaldo have got used to playing in, this had a fairly modest capacity of 30,000.

What time does Inter Miami vs Al Nassr kick off?

It is a 9pm kick-off in the local time of Riyadh.

That means it is 6pm GMT, 1pm ET and 10am PT.

Live coverage of Inter Miami vs Al Nassr today

Hello and welcome to The Athletic’s live coverage of Inter Miami vs Al Nassr which, a few years ago, would not quite be the spectacle it is today.

That is because arguably the two greatest players to ever play the sport now feature for both of those teams.

It is Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo in Riyadh, so stick with us throughout the day for all the build up then the live updates from the match itself.

The article is in Czech

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