Inter Miami have denied claims that a showdown between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a friendly match has been arranged.
Billed as ‘The Last Dance’, it was reported on Tuesday that Inter Miami will face Al Nassr in a three-team tournament, the Riyadh Season Cup, which is also said to include Al Hilal.
The match will go ahead at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh and will go ahead in the same month as Tyson Fury’s mega-fight against Oleksandr Usyk to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
A final date has not been finalised but it’s understood the hope is to stage it before Fury vs Usyk.
However, Inter Miami have poured some cold water on things, saying nothing has been confirmed yet.
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The statement read: “Earlier today, an announcement was issued stating that Inter Miami CF is scheduled to play in the Riyadh Season Cup. This is inaccurate.
“The release included statements attributed to team owner Jorge Mas. Mas has made no comments, publicly or privately, in relation to the pre-season tour.
“Since day one, Inter Miami CF has set out to be a global brand. To this end, we have been in conversations to determine our 2024 preseason schedule.
“We look forward to showcasing our players on Inter Miami CF’s first international tour which will be announced in the coming weeks.”
Saudi Arabia is looking to continue their aggressive expansion into the world of sport, including football, boxing, golf and motorsport.
As for Ronaldo and Messi, the two have had sparkling careers where many have argued they are the best players of all time.
On an individual level, their goal records and trophies are on a different planet.
But in the past 12 months, the two have left Europe behind as they enter the twilight years of their careers.
Ronaldo signed for Al Nassr in December after his contract at Manchester United was ripped up following a fallout with the club.
The two superstars did meet in January in a friendly between PSG and the Saudi All-Star XI when Messi was still at the Parc des Princes.
In an exciting clash that ended 5-4 to the French side, Ronaldo netted twice after Messi opened the scores while Neymar missed from the penalty spot.
While Al Nassr and Inter Miami’s clash will undoubtedly be the highlight of the Riyadh Season Cup, Neymar looks set to miss out.
Having signed for Al Hilal in the summer, who are also at the tournament, the Brazilian suffered a serious ACL injury and is not expected back until next season.
Ronaldo and Messi have won 13 Ballon d’Or awards between them, 79 official trophies and 1664 goals for club and country.
Messi won the World Cup last year in Qatar, helping him lift his eighth Ballon d’Or earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo spearheaded Portugal’s Euro-winning squad of 2016, as well as winning the inaugural Nations League in 2019.