Riyadh: The much-anticipated gathering of football's greatest adversaries commenced on Thursday, with Lionel Messi observing Inter Miami's clash against Al Nassr from the sidelines, while Cristiano Ronaldo took in the action from a higher vantage point in the stands.
Due to a calf injury, Ronaldo was sidelined for the match, and Messi's decision to sit out surprised fans in Saudi Arabia as the MLS team began play.
Messi and Ronaldo were longtime rivals when they played in Spain for Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively and have combined to win 13 of the last 15 Ballon d’Or awards given to the world’s best player.
The latest installment of that rivalry was seen as the highlight of Miami’s pre-season tour, which included two games in Saudi Arabia.
But that was put in doubt when Ronaldo sustained an injury that prompted Al Nassr to postpone two exhibition matches in China this month.
Al Nassr vs. Inter Miami Match Highlights
- 3' NAS 1-0 MIA / OTAVIO Scores! The midfielder lifts Saudi Arabia with a 3rd-minute goal, cutting in from the left and curling it into the top right corner.
- 10' NAS 2-0 MIA / Talisca's Successful Penalty Goal.
- 13’ NAS 3-0 MIA / GOAL!!! Laporte fires a shot from his own half, seeing the keeper off his line.
- 51’ NAS 4-0 MIA / Talisca is composed from the spot kick and buries the ball into the net.
- 68' NAS 5-0 MIA / This one comes from a corner as Marran laps up a deflection of a Miami defender’s head and slots it home.
- 75’ NAS 6-0 MIA / TALISCA HAS A HATTRICK!
The Portuguese’s beloved rival Lionel Messi came on in the 83rd which brought momentary joy to the crowd in attendance but it little to turn around the fortunes of his side.
Inter Miami will leave Saudi Arabia on the back of two defeats.