HomeSports And EntertainmentRonaldo Absent As Al Nassr Thrash Messi’s Inter Miami 6-0

Ronaldo Absent As Al Nassr Thrash Messi’s Inter Miami 6-0

The long expected showdown between football’s two biggest rivals became an anti-climax on Thursday.

Lionel Messi was restricted to a late substitute appearance, even as Cristiano Ronaldo watched from the fans’ stands as his Al Nassr team thrashed Messi’s Inter Miami 6-0.

Ronaldo had been ruled out because of a calf injury and Messi surprised fans in Saudi Arabia by sitting on the sidelines as the exhibition Riyadh Season Cup match kicked off.

The Saudi Pro League club’s head coach Luís Castro said Wednesday that Ronaldo would not be able to play in the match because of a calf injury, while reports said Messi was left out of the starting lineup as an injury precaution.

Brazilian Anderson Talisca struck a hat trick for Al Nassr, while former Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte scored from inside his own half. Al Nassr’s other goals came from Otavio and Mohammed Maran.

The game, hosted at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had been billed as the final club meeting of the two stars who dominated European football for a decade, most notably during their spells with Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Messi and Ronaldo have faced off 36 times through the years in matches for club and country, with Messi’s teams winning 16, Ronaldo’s teams winning 11 and the sides settling for draws on the other nine occasions. Messi has 22 goals and 11 assists in those matches; Ronaldo has 21 goals and one assist.

Ronaldo, who has won five Ballon d’Or awards to Messi’s eight, cheered on from the stands as the Al Nassr goals rained in.

With the Saudi Pro League on its midseason break, Al Nassr planned to play two fixtures in China against Shanghai Shenhua and Zhejiang before the match against Miami in Riyadh.

But Ronaldo issued a public apology on Jan. 23 after his calf injury contributed to Al Nassr’s postponement of their tour of the country.

Inter Miami, who lost 4-3 to Al Hilal on Monday, travelled to Saudi Arabia as part of their preseason tour. They are due to face a Hong Kong XI on Feb. 4.




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