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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Messi vs Ronaldo: Inter Miami denies deal to play Al Nassr

Inter Miami says it has not agreed to compete in Saudi Arabia next February, refuting the claims by a promoter announced earlier Tuesday that the MLS team would face two Saudi clubs.

Hours after the touting of a match between Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr plus another with Al-Hilal next February in the Riyadh Season Cup, the US squad denied any pre-season tour plans have been confirmed.

“Earlier today, an announcement was issued stating that Inter Miami CF is scheduled to play in the Riyadh Season Cup. This is inaccurate,” the Inter Miami statement said.

“The release included statements attributed to team owner Jorge Mas. Mas has made no comments, publicly or privately, in relation to the pre-season tour.”

Eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who joined the US squad in July and sparked a championship run in the Leagues Cup against US and Mexican clubs, has made Inter Miami a desired team for global contests.

Earlier this month, Inter Miami announced that a planned trip to China for matches had been called off due to “unforseen circumstances in China.”

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In this latest case, a Messi versus Ronaldo rematch proved too good to be true, Inter Miami’s statement said.

“Since day one, Inter Miami has set out to be a global brand. To this end, we have been in conversations to determine our 2024 pre-season schedule,” the statement said.

“We look forward to showcasing our players on Inter Miami’s first international tour, which will be announced in the coming weeks.”

Messi, 36, led Argentina to last year’s World Cup crown.

Last January, Ronaldo made his first appearance in Saudi Arabia following his move to Al Nassr with a Riyadh All-Star XI that lost 5-4 to a Paris Saint-Germain side featuring Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos.

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