Cristiano Ronaldo pulls out of Lionel Messi showdown killing hope of last dance


Cristiano Ronaldo will not play against Lionel Messi in an upcoming friendly match between Al-Nassr and Inter Miami, it has been revealed. The two footballing greats were due to face each other for potentially the final time at the Kingdom Arena Stadium in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

The match was being billed by fans as the 'last dance' for Ronaldo and Messi, who are yet to play against each other since the latter joined Inter Miami from Paris Saint-Germain last summer. However, they will not get the chance to do battle for one last time on Thursday, with Ronaldo set to miss the fixture after picking up a calf injury.

Al-Nassr boss Luis Castro confirmed the unfortunate news in a press conference, saying: "We will not see [Ronaldo vs Messi]. Ronaldo is in the final part of his recovery to join the group. We hope that in the next few days he can start working with the team. He will be absent from the game."

Ronaldo faced Messi last year when PSG played a friendly match against a team of Riyadh All Stars, which ended in a thrilling 5-4 victory for the French giants. Unless another friendly can be arranged between Al-Nassr and Inter Miami in the future, it seems as though fans will be denied a 'last dance' between the two football legends.

Both players have been scoring plenty of goals for their respective clubs, with Ronaldo bagging 20 times in just 18 league appearances for Al-Nassr this season. Messi, meanwhile, has scored 11 goals in 14 matches and led Inter Miami to their first trophy back in August as they lifted the Leagues Cup.

Ronaldo's injury was picked up earlier this month before Al-Nassr's planned tour of China, where thousands of fans were hoping to see the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in action. However, the Saudi giants pulled the plug on their scheduled games against Shanghai Shenhua and Zheijang when it became clear that Ronaldo was not going to be available.

He went on to issue a public apology, saying in a press conference: "I want to say sorry to the Chinese fans, especially in Shenzhen, because as you know, in football, some things you cannot control.

"I [have come] to China since 2003, 2004, so I feel home here. I feel this is my second home, not only because of the welcome of the Chinese people, but the culture that you have from me. I felt that I'm always [welcome], especially here in that country. So as you can see, I feel sad. I know you are sad, too, especially the people who love Cristiano.

"We have to see this in a good way. When I say in a good way, I mean, we [have] not cancelled the game. We're going to postpone the game. We want to be back here to your country. We will be back."

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