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Inter Miami denies involvement in Saudi Arabia’s plans for friendly match between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect Inter Miami’s position following a statement from the club

Inter Miami have denied any involvement in reported plans for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to meet in a friendly in Saudi Arabia in February.

The match between Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami and Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr was announced by organizers as part of the Riyadh Season Cup and was said to be scheduled to take place. has THE Kingdom Arena.

A statement said Miami had been confirmed as the “international guest team” for the three-team, round-robin competition, and would be joined by the country’s clubs Al Nassr and Al Hilal.

The statement also contained quotes from Turki Alalshikh, president of Saudi General Entertainment Authority, which stated: “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.

The press release also indicated that a schedule of meetings would be announced in due course.

However, a statement from Miami later in the day contradicted the proposed hosts’ announcement, calling it “inaccurate.”

“Earlier today, an announcement was released stating that Inter Miami CF is scheduled to participate in the Riyadh Season Cup. This is inaccurate,” the statement said. “The release included statements attributed to team owner Jorge Mas. Mas has made no comments, public or private, regarding the pre-season tour.

“Since day one, Inter Miami CF has set out to be a global brand. To this end, we have had discussions to determine our 2024 pre-season schedule. We look forward to showcasing our players during Inter Miami CF’s first international tour which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Messi and Ronaldo enjoyed one of the most high-profile rivalries in sport for much of their careers.

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.


“He sold himself to the devil” – Messi, 2030 and a very uncomfortable deal with Saudi Arabia

(BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

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