Messi to face off against Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia

Featured image credit: Inter Miami

Featured image credit: Inter Miami

Major League Soccer team Inter Miami has confirmed that it will head to Saudi Arabia next year for two pre-season friendlies, including one against Al Nassr that will pit Lionel Messi against Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi’s Inter Miami will take part in the Riyadh Season Cup as part of its first international tour. Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena will host matches against Al-Hilal on January 29 and Ronaldo’s Al Nassr on February 1. Al-Hilal’s squad also features Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Neymar, although he is currently injured.

The club confirmed last week that it would travel to Hong Kong for a pre-season friendly against an all-star squad from the domestic First Division League on February 4. This came after a planned tour of China was cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances” in the country.

Confirmation of the club’s participation in the Riyadh Season Cup comes after the club had last month denied that it had agreed to take part. Organisers in Saudi Arabia had issued a statement suggesting that Inter Miami would participate, but the club denied this and disputed comments that had been attributed to its owner, Jorge Mas.

However, Inter Miami has now confirmed that it will take part. 

“This is another major opportunity to create lasting relationships with passionate fans,” said Xavier Asensi, the club’s chief business officer. “We are excited to connect with new supporters in Saudi Arabia, and also hope people all over the world will be tuning in to see a pair of dream matches like these.”

Messi and Ronaldo have faced each other 35 times in their careers, with Messi winning 16, Ronaldo winning 10, and nine games ending in a draw.