Why Ronaldo missed ‘final showdown’ against Messi in Al Nassr vs Inter Miami clash

Cristiano Ronaldo happily watched from the stands as Al Nassr destroyed Inter Miami | X/@TheAThletic

Why Ronaldo missed ‘final showdown’ against Messi in Al Nassr vs Inter Miami clash

Ayoola Kelechi 23:31 - 01.02.2024

Ronaldo was in the stands instead of on the pitch as Al Nassr thrashed Lionel Messi's Inter Miami in the Riyadh Seasons Cup invitational

In what was hyped as the "Last Dance" between two of football's greatest icons, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, fans around the globe were left in suspense as the eagerly awaited clash between Al Nassr and Inter Miami took place without Ronaldo gracing the pitch.

The reason? A calf injury that has sidelined the Portuguese superstar, dousing the flames of anticipation for what could have been another historic encounter in their storied rivalry.

Ronaldo's Unfortunate Setback

Al Nassr's head coach Luis Castro revealed the reason behind Ronaldo's absence, stating that the player is in the final stages of recovery from a calf injury.

Despite the hope and anticipation that built up around the match, Ronaldo's health comes first, and the decision to rest him underscores the importance of player welfare over spectacle. This decision left fans longing for what might have been the 38th face-off in their careers, a rivalry that has seen 17 Messi wins, 11 Ronaldo triumphs, and nine draws before today​​​​.

Al Nassr thrash Inter Miami as Ronaldo watches on

Although the Portuguese superstar was unable to impact proceedings on the pitch, he was more than happy to watch his Al Nassr side dismantle Inter Miami in a convincing 6-0 rout to claim the Riyadh Cup.

Ronaldo was in the stands at the Kingdom Arena as a hat-trick from Anderson Talisca as well as goals from Otavio, Aymeric Laporte, and Mohammed Khalil Marran saw the Arabian side dominate Inter Miami, who could only give Lionel Messi seven minutes of playing time.

A Missed Opportunity but Not the End

While fans may be disappointed by the missed opportunity to see these two legends face off once more, the legacy of their rivalry remains untarnished, a testament to their contributions to football.

The match symbolized more than just a face-off between two footballing giants; it represented the spirit of the sport, its ability to unite fans worldwide, and the relentless pursuit of excellence that defines the careers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

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