Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been rivals throughout their careers and every time they face each other, the match instantly becomes a date to watch.
With both leaving Europe for the final stages of their club careers, there have been very few head-to-head matches between them, but now fans can look forward to another meeting between the two GOATs of world football.
Messi’s MLS club Inter Miami confirmed he will travel to Saudi Arabia to face Ronaldo’s side Al Nassr in a friendly in early February as part of Inter Miami’s two-match visit to Riyadh.
When is Messi vs Ronaldo friendly?
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will meet at Inter Miami and Al Nassr Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday, February 1 at 1 p.m. ET (9 p.m. local time in Saudi Arabia).
The match falls in the middle of Inter Miami’s pre-season table as they prepare for the 2024 campaign. It comes as the second of Inter Miami’s two games against Saudi Arabian clubs as they face league leaders Al Hilal on January 29. Neymar is a member of the Al Hilal squad but will miss the game as he recovers from a torn ACL.
The game is in the middle of the winter break for Al Nassr as they have no league games scheduled between December 30 and February 15. They will use this match to prepare for a long run of the season as they chase down Al Hilal in the league table while also competing in the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League.
Broadcast details for the two friendlies will be announced at a later date, according to Inter Miami’s official statement.
What is the Riyadh Seasonal Cup?
The Riyadh Season is a state-sponsored entertainment and sports festival organized by the Saudi government that takes place throughout the country’s capital at some point during the winter, usually between October and March. The Riyadh Season Cup is an annual showcase match played at the heart of the Riyadh Season Festival.
Riyadh’s inaugural season, which began in 2019, ran from October to January, attracting a combined 10 million visitors across the country. It featured 12 different “zones” across Riyadh that hosted various events, including car shows, pop-up restaurants, exhibition grounds and plenty of other shows, including sporting events such as WWE.
Last season, the event hosted a friendly between Al Nassr and PSG, where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo clashed, meaning this match will be the second time in as many seasons that the two have faced each other in Riyadh.
The 2020/21 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Riyadh Season festival returned at the end of 2021, lasting the entire season and featuring a larger area and new events such as a video game festival and a Pitbull concert.
The 2021/22 event was also set to feature PSG’s first visit as the French side were due to come and play All-Stars Al Hilal / Al Nassr in what would be the first annual friendly. However, this was eventually postponed due to restrictions related to COVID-19, and PSG came to visit for an exhibition event last season to showcase the much-anticipated match between Messi and Ronaldo.