Saudi Arabia is once again planning a big event.
“Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami will face off against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nasr,” Turki Al Sheikh, the head of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment, announced on social media on April 22, calling the event THE LAST DANCE.
After a long career in Europe, Ronaldo chose to spend the final years of his career in Saudi Arabia after clashing with manager Eric ten Hagh at Manchester United. He moved to Al Nasr in December last year. Starting with Ronaldo, the Saudis are using their oil money to dominate European soccer.
A good example of this was the friendly between the Saudi Arabian Union and PSG on January 20. The Saudi All-Stars, a combination of Al Hilal and Al Nasr, played PSG in a friendly at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, losing 4-5.
Messi scored one goal and Ronaldo scored multiple goals. The victory went to Messi. At the time, it looked like this would be their last meeting, as Ronaldo was leaving Europe. However, in a friendly match, they played against each other on the day and had a no-holds-barred showdown.
In the third minute of the first half, Neymar’s pass gave Messi the lead, and Ronaldo’s face fell. A desperate Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the 34th minute and celebrated with a downpour. He added a second in the 51st minute of stoppage time.
Messi and Ronaldo battled for pride until the very end, but it was Messi who came out on top. Ronaldo, who was substituted in the second half, was bitter on the bench.
But another last dance awaits. “Al Nasr and Inter Miami will face off in the Riyadh Season Cup, which is also known as the Last Dance,” Al Sheikh said. Add to that Neymar’s Al Hilal and we’ll have a league format to decide the winner.”
Messi has also moved to Miami since his contract with PSG ended. With Al Sheikh and Miami owner David Beckham behind the idea, the competition has the potential to be a huge draw. From Messi and Ronaldo going head-to-head in league form, to the other big names involved, including Neymar, it’s set to be a huge commercial success.
To date, Messi and Ronaldo have faced each other 38 times for club and national teams. Messi has a clear advantage with 17 wins, 9 draws, and 11 losses.