Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo clash shrouded in controversy as Inter Miami hit out at ‘inaccurate’ Al Nassr claim

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi battle in 2023

It is unlikely Lionel Messi will come up against long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo one more time, as Inter Miami have hit back at claims they will conduct a friendly against Al Nassr in February.

Messi and Ronaldo have spearheaded an incredible era of football, winning every single Ballon d’Or from 2008 to 2017 between them. Messi helped Barcelona to win four Champions Leagues and 10 La Liga titles, while Ronaldo won four Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles during his shorter spell at Real Madrid.

The pair scored an incredible 1122 goals between them during their amazing time in Spain. However, they went their different ways when Ronaldo signed for Juventus and subsequently Manchester United, while Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain in August 2021.

Messi and Ronaldo have now left Europe entirely, with the Argentine heading to David Beckham’s MLS side Inter Miami and the Portuguese joining Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.

However, fans were recently told they will be able to watch the pair play against each other for possibly one last time in February. Saudi official Turki Alalshikh announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Miami will play Al Nassr in the Riyadh Season Cup. The match was labelled ‘The Last Dance’, as both world-renowned stars could soon retire.

Ronaldo would have been particularly keen to get one over on Messi, as the latter recently won a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or. That has seen him go well clear of Ronaldo, who has won the individual accolade five times.

Although, it seems hopes of organising a match between Miami and Al Nassr are over before they even began. Miami have released the following statement on the matter: ‘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 preseason 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.’

Saudis jump the gun with Messi vs Ronaldo announcement

Of course, a game between Messi and Ronaldo would have also seen plenty of other big-name stars take to the pitch. Messi has been joined by former Barca team-mates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba at Miami. Ronaldo, meanwhile, is playing alongside Sadio Mane, Aymeric Laporte, Marcelo Brozovic, Otavio and Alex Telles at Al Nassr.

It is a shame that the Saudis have claimed this match to be happening when clearly nothing has been agreed with Miami. The announcement will have gotten fans around the world incredibly excited, only for them now to be let down.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Messi and Ronaldo could still end up playing each other one last time if both of their teams make it through to the Club World Cup at some point over the next few years.

Elsewhere, Man Utd have reportedly received their first viable offer for Jadon Sancho, with a second potential move ruled out.