Just when you thought they were going to slide quietly in the background, the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi rivalry is about to write another chapter. Inter Miami vs Al Nassr has been confirmed for the Riyadh Season Cup happening next year.
After much debate, who knows, we might even get the answer to the burning Saudi Pro League vs MLS question!
But, what is Riyadh Season Cup, when is it, and who are the other teams participating in the tournament?
Here are all the details about Saudi Arabia’s latest showpiece tournament making waves in the footballing world-
What is the Riyadh Season Cup?
Riyadh Season Cup is the footballing crown jewel of Saudi Arabia which is hosted under the umbrella of Riyad Season, a government-sponsored sports and entertainment festival.
It happens in the winter, usually between October and February.
Football wasn’t the main attraction of the event when it started back in 2019, with the Riyadh Season holding other marquee events like WWE’s Crown Jewel, among others.
However, the Riyadh Season Cup really launched itself to public consciousness when it managed to pull Lionel Messi’s PSG side in 2022 for a friendly game against Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr All-Stars.
PSG won the friendly last year 5-4 and just as Saudi Arabia would have wanted, Messi and Ronaldo stole the show, scoring one and two goals respectively.
There is no set format for the Riyadh Season Cup, as evidenced by PSG not participating in 2024.
Riyadh Season Cup 2024- Inter Miami vs Al-Nassr
The 2024 Riyadh Season Cup will take place in February 2024 and generational rivals Messi and Ronaldo will write another chapter in their tale.
However, the format this year is different.
Instead of the cup being a straight fixture between Miami and Al Nassr, it will be a trio tournament, with Al Hilal rounding up the participants.
It makes sense since Saudi Arabia’s investment in its football league has seen many of Europe’s top superstars make their way to the Gulf country.
In addition to Al-Ittihad, Al Hilal and Al Nassr are two of Saudi Arabia’s elite teams with many players European football fans will be very familiar with. Therefore, they can now afford to field two quality teams full of big names to represent their league.
Each team will play the other and the team with the most points at the end of the phase will be crowned the winner of the tournament.
The Riyadh Season Cup 2024 is being billed as “The Last Dance” for the generational rivalry of Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo. While there is no absolute truth to that statement, since neither player has iterated any desire thus far of hanging up his boots, fans will undoubtedly relish them going head-to-head since we are undoubtedly in the dying stages of their era, if not finished already.