Why Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi miss Al-Nassr vs Inter Miami clash | Football

Ronaldo and Messi were set to face off for one last time (Picture: Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will miss out on a final showdown with both players ruled out of tonight’s friendly between Al-Nassr and Inter Miami.  

Ronaldo and Messi, after countless battles at the top of European football, were set to share the pitch for possibly the last time in tonight’s Riyadh Season Cup, a meeting dubbed ‘The Last Dance’.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus star has been recovering from a calf injury that led to Al-Nassr cancelling two friendlies in China last week, much to the anger of fans in Shenzhen.

Ronaldo, 38, has not recovered from his injury in time with final confirmation of his absence coming hours before kick-off, not named in the matchday squad.

Messi was expected to be involved but the Barcelona and Argentina legend is also absent from the Inter Miami squad. Reports suggest the 36-year-old is struggling with an injury of his own.

Sadio Mane is also not involved for Al-Nassr following Senegal’s heartbreaking Africa Cup of Nations elimination on penalties against Ivory Coast on Monday.

There are two familiar names in the Al-Nassr XI including former Manchester City star Aymeric Laporte, who recently suggested a number of players who left Europe for Saudi in the summer are now having second thoughts. He is also joined by former Manchester United full-back Alex Telles.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi

Plenty of fans will be left disappointed tonight (Picture: Getty)

While without Messi, three other Barcelona legends in Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets start tonight for the MLS side.

The Al-Nassr manager revealed earlier this week that Ronaldo was set to miss out this evening.

‘We will not see [Messi vs Ronaldo],’ said Al-Nassr’s manager Luis Castro.

‘Ronaldo is in the final part of his recovery to join the group. We hope that in the next few days you can start working with the team. He will be absent from the game.’

Messi and Ronaldo faced each other 35 times over the course of their decade-long rivalry, with the Argentine winning 16 times.


MORE : The £300,000 napkin that changed Messi’s life is up for auction


MORE : Casemiro drops hint over Manchester United future amid reports he could join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia


MORE : Oleksandr Usyk silences Tyson Fury after being mocked for wearing an earring in leaked interview

General Sport