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What time is Ronaldo vs Messi match 2024? Date, kickoff for Al Nassr Riyadh Season Cup clash with Inter Miami

One of the most famous rivalries in modern football history is due to see at least one more chapter in early 2024.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the winners of 13 Ballons d’Or awards and countless other trophies and records between them, are set to face off this week when Al Nassr face Inter Miami in Saudi Arabia.

The match is an exhibition game serving a dual purpose: it’s a useful preseason and mid-season warm-up match for Inter Miami and Al Nassr teams gearing up for a busy year, while it’s also one of the marquee events of the latest Riyadh Season — a state-funded festival of sport and entertainment staged in Saudi Arabia each year.

The Sporting News has the details on the kickoff time of the match, plus the latest on Ronaldo’s injury problem and some background on the Riyadh Season Cup — the trophy for which these two giants of the game will be competing.

MORE: Recap the 5-4 thriller when Messi last faced Ronaldo

What time is Ronaldo vs Messi 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

Is Ronaldo playing against Inter Miami?

There has not been any indication yet as to whether Ronaldo will be fit enough for the scheduled game between Al Nassr and Inter Miami on February 1. 

Al Nassr’s recent run of friendlies during their mid-season break has been complicated by an injury Ronaldo sustained during a training camp.

The 38-year-old sustained a muscular problem that meant his team’s planned matches in China against Shanghai Shenhua and Zheijang had to be postponed. Frustrated fans were pictured gathering en masse at Al Nassr’s hotel and police had to be called to ensure the situation did not escalate.

If Ronaldo has not recovered in time for Inter Miami’s visit, it is as yet unclear whether the match will go ahead, or if it will be postponed.

Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo matchup history

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are this generation’s most legendary players, and their rivalry has been well-documented throughout the last two decades.

The two have squared off 35 times across their careers, with Messi winning 16 times to Ronaldo’s 10, plus nine draws. Messi claimed the most recent face-off as PSG won their friendly matchup 5-4 in Riyadh last time around.

In their career matchups, Messi has scored 21 goals and 12 assists, while Ronaldo has logged 20 goals and one assist in those 35 games.

What is the Riyadh Season Cup?

Riyadh Season is a state-sponsored entertainment and sports festival put on by the Saudi government which takes place across the nation’s capital at some point during the winter, usually between October and March. The Riyadh Season Cup is an annual showcase match that’s played during the heart of the Riyadh Season festival.

Started in 2019, the inaugural Riyadh Season went from October through January with the nation pulling in 10 million combined visitors to the event. It featured 12 different “zones” across Riyadh that held various events, including car shows, restaurant pop-ups, fairgrounds, and plenty of other shows, including sporting events such as WWE.

Last season, the event held a friendly between a Riyadh Season Tea, and PSG which pitted Messi against Ronaldo in the latter’s first game after joining Al Nassr. The latest matchup will be the second time in as many seasons that the two will take the field against one another in Riyadh, fitness permitting..

The 2020/21 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Riyadh Season festival returned in late 2021, lasting the full season and featuring a larger area and new events such as a video game festival and a Pitbull concert.

The 2021/22 event was also meant to feature the first PSG visit as the French side was to come and play the Al Hilal / Al Nassr All-Stars, in what would have been the first of an annual friendly match. However, it was eventually postponed due to COVID-19 related restrictions, and PSG came to visit for the showcase last season to deliver on the highly anticipated matchup between Messi and Ronaldo.

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