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Is Lionel Messi playing today vs Ronaldo? Latest Inter Miami team news for Al Nassr Riyadh Season Cup match

Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami take on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr in a Riyadh Season Cup exhibition game as the Major League Soccer club prepare for their season opener later in February.

The Saudi Pro League side will, however, be without Ronaldo as he is recovering from a calf injury. 

“Cristiano is in the final part of his recovery to join the group,” Luis Castro, Al Nassr’s manager, said in his press conference on Wednesday. “We expect that he can begin to work with the team in the next few days. He will be an element that will be absent from the game.”

Ronaldo’s absence is a blow for organisers as well as football fans around the world who wanted to see the latest — and, perhaps, final — instalment of a rivalry that has helped to define modern football. Will Messi, at least, be involved in the match in the Saudi capital?

The Sporting News takes a look at the latest team news around Inter Miami and their star man.

MORE: Full Inter Miami schedule for 2024 competitive season set to begin in February

Is Lionel Messi playing today vs Ronaldo?

The highly anticipated match between Al Nassr and Inter Miami is scheduled to take place at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh and was promoted as the ultimate showdown between two footballing greats who shared many great battles during their time at Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Earlier this week, Messi’s side suffered a 4-3 defeat against Saudi Pro League leaders Al Hilal. Currently, Al Nassr sit in second position, trailing Al Hilal by seven points. 

The Argentina international scored a second-half penalty in that match and has no injury concerns ahead of the friendly on Thursday, leaving no reason for Messi to miss the clash.

Luis Suarez has reunited with Messi and played in several of Inter Miami’s exhibition matches, also finding the net against Al Hilal.

Joining the former Barcelona duo is Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, who also made the move from the Catalan club and are expected to feature in the starting XI.

What time is Al Nassr vs Inter Miami match 2024?

The friendly match between Al Nassr and Inter Miami is due to kick off at 9 p.m. local time on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

The game is taking place at Kingdom Arena, a 30,000-capacity venue in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is where Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal play their home games.

Here is how the kickoff time translates across some of the world’s major territories:

  Date Kickoff time
USA Thur, Feb. 1 1 p.m. ET
Canada Thur, Feb. 1 1 p.m. ET
UK Sun, Jan. 21 6:00 p.m. GMT
Australia Fri, Feb. 2 5 a.m. AEDT
India Thur, Feb. 1 11:30 p.m. IST

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.

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