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Will Cristiano Ronaldo play vs Lionel Messi & Inter Miami in the Riyadh Season Cup game | Goal.com India

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The Portugal international emerged as a concern ahead of the game between Al-Nassr and Inter Miami.

Few rivalries in sport have been as compelling as that between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, so it was little surprise when Inter Miami were booked to play Al-Nassr this February that football fans across the world were relishing the prospect of one last dance between the pair.

However, an injury sustained by Ronaldo – which resulted in the club postponing a tour of China – has thrown the iconic showdown into doubt, with Al-Nassr head coach Luis Castro and supporters hoping for a speedy recovery.

Ahead of the game, GOAL brings you everything you need to know about Ronaldo’s injury and whether he will be fit to face his eternal rival in Riyadh.

When do Al-Nassr play Inter Miami in the Riyadh Season Cup?

The game between Al-Nassr and Inter Miami is scheduled for February 1, 2024. It is set to be played at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, with a 6pm GMT (1pm ET) kick-off time.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo play vs Lionel Messi & Inter Miami?

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss Al-Nassr’s game against Inter Miami, meaning there will be no ‘last dance’ between two of the best footballers of all time.

Al-Nassr boss Luis Castro confirmed Ronaldo would be unavailable on January 31, the day before the friendly match. “We will not see [Messi vs Ronaldo], Ronaldo is in the final part of his recovery to join the group,” explained Castro. “We hope that in the next few days you can start working with the team. He will be absent from the game.”

Al-Nassr were giving Ronaldo every chance to prove his fitness to play in the friendly game against Inter Miami. Initial reports suggested that he would need two weeks to recover fully and that timeframe meant he was likely to be fit to play on February 1.

Indeed, footage shared by Al-Nassr online showed that he had been training in the gym ahead of the game and he cut a positive figure on his own social media channels. Sadly, however, the Portugal icon will not be available to play.

READ MORE: Football’s greatest rivalry draws to a close

What injury does Cristiano Ronaldo have?

Ronaldo suffered a muscle injury on his left calf in mid-January. While the 38-year-old’s mobility was not affected (as can be seen in a video posted by the club on social media), Al-Nassr and the player himself were keen not to aggravate it by rushing to play.

Al-Nassr postponed their friendly games in China and Ronaldo issued a statement of apology to Chinese fans who had hoped to see him play.

“As you know, in football some things you cannot control. I have played 22 years in football and I am a player that doesn’t have too many injuries. So I’m really sad because Al-Nassr and myself have come to China to enjoy the tour,” Ronaldo said.

“I have been coming to China since 2003/2004, so I feel at home here – my second home. I felt that I am always special here. I feel sad. I know you are sad too, especially the people who love Cristiano, but we have to see this in a good way. We have not cancelled the game, we want to push for the game and be back here. We will be back.

“Unfortunately, I have some problem, but this is part of football and my life. I’m here, I’m with the fans, I’m with the Chinese people and we are going to continue here. We can see outside the people that are with us.

“We are sad because we knew this could happen. We will be back to make the Chinese people happy, this is my goal. I want to play for you. Don’t be sad because I am sad and I hope you understand the circumstances of a football player.”

When did Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi last play against each other?

Ronaldo and Messi last faced off against each other on January 19, 2023 when Paris Saint-Germain defeated a Saudi All-Star team 5-4.

Both players scored in the game, with Messi striking first for PSG, before Ronaldo chipped into the Saudi cause with two goals.

They used to face off at least twice every season when they were both in La Liga with Real Madrid and Barcelona, but the number of showdowns have diminished since Ronaldo left for Juventus in 2018

As the sports world buzzes with the potential face-off between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Riyadh Season Cup, enthusiasts considering betting on this historic match should visit online betting sites. These sites provide odds, tips, and a comprehensive betting environment for such high-profile encounters.

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