Thursday night saw a game that would have attracted almost no attention before. Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr, however, welcomed Inter Miami to their turf. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were expected to face each other. It didn’t happen. From the Saudi Arabian side, the Argentine then received a mild mockery.
Lionel Messi has been at Inter Miami since the summer, Cristiano Ronaldo has been earning a tidy sum in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nasser for a year. Despite both being on different continents and in different leagues, they managed to arrange a friendly in which their teams were to clash.
And so it was on Thursday night. But Cristiano Ronaldo was injured and did not enter the match at all, watching it only from the stands. Lionel Messi, for a change, was missing from Inter’s starting line-up and, somewhat undignified, came on as a substitute a few minutes before the end with the game decided.
A match that probably no one in Europe would have watched a year ago suddenly interested a large number of European fans. But the main draws were hardly on show.
But what was there to see? A one-sided show as far as the result was concerned. Al-Nassr were already 3-0 up after 12 minutes. In the 73rd minute, Miami’s sixth and final goal was the last. The Middle Eastern team won 6: 0.
Lionel Messi took the field in the 83rd minute. Even though he was injured. Embarrassing? Lack of respect? Fans may disagree with the majority, but similar words appear frequently on social media in relation to this move.
Lionel Messi and the Saudi curse
It’s no secret that the eight Ballon d’Or winner also had an offer on the table from Saudi Arabia over the summer. But he turned it down. He decided to go west. While he admits that the MLS is not as good as European competitions, Cristiano Ronaldo strokes his ego by saying that the Saudi Arabian league is already better than the French one, although according to various rankings it is not even ahead of the MLS.
The duel between Inter Miami and Al-Nassr basically suggested or decided nothing in this regard. However, many will draw conclusions from it. However, it seems Lionel Messi is deep in the Arabs’ stomach.
So much so, in fact, that the chairman of the Saudi Arabian General Entertainment Authority, Turki Alalshikh, had to take a dig at the Argentine legend after the crushing result.
“It looks like Messi knew Cristiano Ronaldo was injured and that he knew Al-Nassr would whip his Miami. So he avoided defeat to Al-Nassr without Cristiano. Saudi Arabia has become his curse,” Goal quotes him as saying.
He is, of course, referring to the fact that Saudi Arabia was the only national team at the World Cup that managed to beat Argentina right at the start of the tournament. However, Lionel Messi subsequently led his country to the World Cup title to claim the status of the best footballer in history.
Source: Goal, Transfermarkt
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