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Cristiano Ronaldo injury rules him out of friendly against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami

Cristiano Ronaldo will not participate in Al Nassr’s friendly against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami on Thursday.

The exhibition match, where Ronaldo was anticipated to share the pitch with fellow multiple Ballon d’Or winner and longtime rival Messi, will no longer feature the Portugal international as he continues his recovery from injury.

Al Nassr head coach Luis Castro confirmed the 38-year-old’s absence in a press conference on Wednesday, adding: “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.”

Ronaldo and Messi have faced each other on 36 previous occasions in their illustrious careers, most notably when they played for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

Earlier this month, the Saudi Pro League (SPL) side cancelled their tour to China that was designed “specifically” for Ronaldo’s fans due to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s injury.

Al Nassr are on a mid-season break from domestic competition and had scheduled multiple exhibition matches before returning to SPL action on February 14.

Similarly, Inter Miami are currently on a pre-season tour, which has included visiting Saudi Arabia. Their first match in the country was against Al Hilal on Monday, with the MLS side losing 4-3. The fixture against Al Nassr is their second exhibition game in the country, as part of the Riyadh Cup.

They will then conclude their pre-season tour against Hong Kong XI, Japanese club Vissel Kobe and Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys, the latter of which is based in Rosario — Messi’s hometown.

Inter Miami’s opening match of the MLS season is against Real Salt Lake City on February 22.

(Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

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