Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo
It will be the first time Messi and Ronaldo face each other since January 2023, when PSG defeated Al Nassr 5-4 in an exhibition game. Josep Lago/AFP

ALABAMA - As Lionel Messi and Inter Miami continue their preseason tour around the world, the South Florida club has carried its bad form from last season and remain winless. Four games into their preseason, they have lost three and tied only one of them, a 0-0 draw against El Salvador.

Inter Miami had a catastrophic end to their 2023 season, finishing second-to-last in the Eastern Conference after collecting just three of 18 possible points in the team's last six games of the MLS season. Inter Miami finished the 2023 MLS season with 18 losses, 2nd most behind Toronto's 20. It is worth noting, however, that Messi spent much of that time injured and wasn't able to play the pivotal role he usually does when he's on the pitch.

Even though Messi's arrival in July reignited the club, reaching two cup finals and winning one (Leagues Cup), the club had its worst-ever season since their inaugural campaign in 2020.

Lionel Messi scores a wonderful free kick in his debut for Inter Miami (Via FOX Soccer)
















It was a tough season for Inter Miami from start to finish. After winning their opening two games, the Herons lost six straight. They got their form together and won three in a row before dropping seven straight additional matches. In their opening 18 MLS games, Inter Miami was able to win just five of those contests.

As mentioned, everything got better once Messi arrived. With the Argentine, Inter Miami went on a 12-game unbeaten streak in cup competitions before losing in the U.S. Open Cup final against the Houston Dynamo.

After the two long losing streaks, the South Florida club finished the season winning just one of their last eight league games, missing out on the MLS Playoffs for the second time in club history.

Since their last win (4-0 vs Toronto in Sept. 2023), Inter Miami sits on a 11-game winless streak if we count preseason games. They will have a chance to break their bad form when they face Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr, who currently sit in 2nd place in the Saudi league just nine points away from 1st-place Al Hilal.

The two best players of their generation, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, have faced each other in 36 competitive games (does not include exhibition or friendly games), with the Argentine holding an advantage over the Portuguese.




Goals scored


Lionel Messi





Cristiano Ronaldo





It won't be easy for Inter Miami, as the Saudi giants are currently on a roll. Since their 3-0 loss to Al-Hilal in December, Cristiano Ronaldo's team are on a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1). Ronaldo is also the leading scorer in Saudi Arabia this season, scoring 20 goals in just 18 matches played.

Cristiano Ronaldo finished with 14 league goals in his first season with Al Nassr, including this incredible free kick goal (Via ESPNFC)

Almost 16 years since their first meeting, this exhibition match might have been the last opportunity soccer fans around the world will have of seeing Lionel Messi face Cristiano Ronaldo, just like the old times. With both competing in different countries now, it seems uncertain if we will ever see another chapter in this storied rivalry. At the international level, Argentina and Portugal have only faced each other twice in the last 50 more would be great before Cristiano and Messi retire.

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