Fans have expressed their excitement over Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to training ahead of Al-Nassr’s anticipated match against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami in Riyadh on Thursday (February 1).
Ronaldo, who recently turned 38, had been grappling with a fitness concern that led to the cancellation of Al-Alami’s two friendly matches in China last week. However, with the Portuguese captain back on the training ground after nearly a fortnight, he’s poised to participate in the clash against his long-standing rival Messi’s Miami team, currently in Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Riyadh Season Cup.
Tata Martino’s squad suffered a 4-3 defeat to Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Hilal on Monday (January 29), with both Messi and newly acquired Luis Suarez finding the net for the visitors. Despite their efforts, the former Barcelona pair couldn’t prevent the Herons from succumbing to their second consecutive pre-season loss, having previously fallen 1-0 to FC Dallas a few days earlier.
Their upcoming encounter presents another formidable challenge as they prepare to face Al-Nassr, who trail only Al-Hilal in the Saudi Pro League standings. Fans are eagerly anticipating a potential showdown between Ronaldo and Messi, with one fan expressing:
“He came back in time to destroy Messi”
Another fan added:
“He wasn’t injured”
Cristiano Ronaldo last crossed paths with Inter Miami’s captain Lionel Messi during matchday six of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League on December 8.
Back then, Ronaldo, playing for Juventus, delivered a stellar performance with a brace, propelling the Bianconeri to a 3-0 victory. The match took place in an empty Camp Nou due to the COVID-19 lockdown, with Weston McKennie adding to the scoreline with a goal in the 20th minute.
Ronaldo opened the scoring within 13 minutes and later secured his brace seven minutes into the second half, both goals coming from penalty kicks. This marked Ronaldo’s first UEFA Champions League goal at Camp Nou after a drought of four games.
Both Juventus and Barcelona concluded the group stage with 15 points each, but Juventus edged ahead of Barcelona, securing qualification for the Round of 16. However, both Messi and Ronaldo’s teams faced defeats in that round. Barcelona succumbed to a 5-2 aggregate loss to PSG, while Juventus was eliminated by Porto on away goals following a 4-4 aggregate draw.