The ‘Messi vs. Ronaldo’ we thought we’d never see again is just around the corner.
“Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nasr) will face off for the last time in a special tournament in Saudi Arabia,” global soccer media outlet GOAL reported on Feb. 22 (KST).
Considered the greatest soccer players of all time, Messi and Ronaldo engaged in a fierce, high-level rivalry during their heyday at Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively, which fans at home dubbed the “Messi Wars”.
The Ballon d’Or, which is awarded to the best soccer player in the world for the year, was split between the two, with Messi winning the award eight times and Ronaldo winning it five times.
Since they were both in the same La Liga team, they faced each other at least twice every season, but the number of times started to decrease after Ronaldo left for Juventus. The last time the two met was in December 2020, in the sixth leg of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League group stage between Juventus and Barcelona, which ended with Ronaldo scoring two goals in a 3-0 victory.
After Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasr, it was thought that we would never see the two players face off again, but in January, a friendly between Al Nasr and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) was organized, marking the first time in almost two years that the two had met. Messi and Ronaldo both scored in the match, which ended in a 5-4 victory for PSG.
After the match, Messi moved on to the MLS in the United States, and fans thought the Mejor War was truly over. However, Alnasr once again invited Messi’s hometown of Miami to organize another match between Messi and Ronaldo.
“Miami will take part in the Riyadh Season Cup during the MLS preseason to face Ronaldo’s Al-Nasr,” the media outlet explained, “the last chance for Messi and Ronaldo to go head-to-head on the pitch.”
The organizers have labeled the Riyadh Season Cup as a “last dance” for both Messi and Ronaldo, as they are close to retiring from active football.
“Al-Nasr will be hosting Miami as well as Saudi Al-Hilal, which is home to Brazilian star Neymar, but Neymar is unavailable due to injury,” he said, adding that the tournament will begin in the first week of February.
“Turki Alsheikh (advisor to the Saudi royal family) welcomed Miami’s participation, noting that the tournament will attract global attention due to the prominent international soccer stars playing for the three clubs.” “Miami president Jorge Mas also praised the great development and transformation of Saudi soccer.” 무지개토토 도메인
Messi and Ronaldo have clashed 36 times since their first meeting in 2008, with Messi leading the head-to-head record with 16 wins, nine draws and 11 losses. With the 37th meeting between the two taking place in Saudi Arabia, it will be interesting to see if the last dance between the two will be a fan favorite once again.