Lionel Messi revisits an old rival as he gears up for the 2024 MLS season with Inter Miami, set to face Cristiano Ronaldo’s club Al Nassr for a friendly in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
Unfortunately, plans of a showdown between the two career-long rivals were scuppered by an injury that Ronaldo suffered in training during their winter break. The Saudi club has not yet played a competitive match in 2024, and Ronaldo’s injury forced the cancellation of an earlier tour of China meant to help the players keep up their match fitness through the time off.
Messi is gearing up to embark on his first full season with Inter Miami after joining in the middle of last year. He famously led the club to its first-ever trophy in the Leagues Cup after signing on, but fitness struggles for the 36-year-old saw the club flounder towards the finish line of the league season, failing to make the MLS Cup playoffs.
With new signing Luis Suarez now in tow, Messi will be hoping to help Inter Miami secure league success this year, while also battling on multiple fronts in various continental knockout tournaments as well. With that challenge on the horizon, he will continue to ramp up for the coming campaign knowing a potentially final matchup against his career-long rival Ronaldo is no longer on the cards.
USA: Click here to see the latest odds for Inter Miami vs Al Nassr and bet club friendly matches
Inter Miami vs Al Nassr prediction, odds
- Moneyline lean: Al Nassr (+105)
- Score prediction: Al Nassr 4-1 Inter Miami
Inter Miami remains a heavily flawed team, and their defensive depth is a massive problem heading into the new season. The departure of Kamal Miller is a questionable decision by the club, and while new signing Nicolas Freire is in the squad for the preseason tour, he has not yet taken the field for Inter Miami and it’s unclear if he’s ready to go here.
After conceding four goals to Al Hilal, they will be up against another attacking juggernaut in Al Nassr and will have a tough time keeping their opponents out of the net en masse.
|Al Nassr win
|Inter Miami win
to score Y/N
|-600 / +360
|Over / Under
|-130 / -110
win both halves
win both halves
Inter Miami vs Al Nassr: best bet
- Pick: Inter Miami to lead anytime — No
- Odds: +130 (BetMGM)
Inter Miami have been poor throughout their preseason matches, unable to put attacking and defensive performances together. On the flip side, while Al Nassr haven’t played a competitive match since December 30, they remain in the middle of their season and will be much sharper than their opponents.
After two straight shutout performances, Inter Miami finally got on the scoresheet against Al Hilal on Monday in a 4-3 defeat, but the defensive solidity was catastrophic, conceding twice in the opening 15 minutes. Both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez found their first goals of the year in that match, but it won’t help the issues at the back, where full-back Noah Allen is deputizing at center-back for the time being.
Tack on the insane travel for Inter Miami this preseason, and it’s hard to see them competing in this match against an Al Nassr team that can score early and often as long as they take their chances.
Inter Miami vs Al Nassr prop bet
- Pick: Al Nassr over 2.5 goals
- Odds: -120 (BetMGM)
Adding to the above, Al Nassr is in electric form up front. They have scored 16 goals in four Saudi Pro League matches since the 3-0 defeat to Al Hilal on December 1, plus another five against Al Shabab in the latest round of their domestic cup competition.
All the regular players are firing on all cylinders, and even in the absence of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane, Al Nassr has plenty of firepower. Anderson Talisca and Otavio are both creating waves of chances up front and even Marcelo Brozovic is cooking in midfield. Against a thin Inter Miami back line, they should have plenty of opportunities to run up the score.
Inter Miami vs Al Nassr match facts
- Date: Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024
- Kickoff Time: 9 p.m. local (1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT)
- Location: Kingdom Arena (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
- Referee: Edina Alves Batista (BRA)
- Last meeting: None (First meeting)
The match will be officiated by Brazilian referee Edina Alves Batista, who in 2020 became the first woman to officiate a senior men’s FIFA competition by working a match at the Club World Cup. A short time later, she was tabbed as the first-ever female official to work the enormous men’s Brazilian club derby between Corinthians and Palmerias.
Inter Miami vs Al Nassr live stream, TV channel
This club-friendly match between Inter Miami and Al Nassr from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be broadcast across the globe on MLS Season Pass from Apple TV.
MLS Season Pass is the home for the entirety of the 2024 Major League Soccer season, with every match streaming on the platform throughout the coming campaign. They will also have the broadcast rights to the Leagues Cup, which will take place in August as MLS clubs pause their league schedule to contest a knockout tournament against clubs from the Mexican top flight.
/ 51 mins ago
Hector Ortiz, a former MLB catcher and coach in the Texas Rangers organization, has...
/ 2 hours ago
Jake Paul continues his boxing journey and quest to prove he can handle legitimate...
/ 3 hours ago
NFLPA survey biggest takeaways: Chiefs’ Big Red wins big; Bengals give Cincinnati dining 0-star rating
Join Fox News for access to this content Plus special access to select articles...
/ 3 hours ago
Lineups, starting 11s, team news for Man City vs Man United: Will Hojlund be fit for derby clash with Haaland?
It’s the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium this Sunday, where Manchester City host...
/ 4 hours ago
YouTuber turned professional prizefighter Jake Paul is in a transitional period right now. The...