Inter Miami have rejected claims that they will be part of the Riyadh Season Cup lineup in Saudi Arabia come February of next year after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were billed to face off one final time.
The tournament, as part of Riyadh Season activities, was announced on Tuesday and boasted the Portuguese superstar's Al Nassr and Al Hilal together with the Argentina international's Major League Soccer outfit as part of a league setup with an unconfirmed schedule.
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However, this latest and possibly final meeting between eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi and five-time winner Ronaldo which was being dubbed "The Last Dance" -- a tip of the hat to basketball legend Michael Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls -- is now in doubt.
"Earlier today, an announcement was issued stating that Inter Miami CF is scheduled to play in the Riyadh Season Cup," read an official club statement. "This is inaccurate. The release included statements attributed to team owner Jorge Mas. Mas has made no comments, publicly or privately, in relation to the preseason tour.
"Since day one, Inter Miami CF has set out to be a global brand. To this end, we have been in conversations to determine our 2024 preseason schedule. We look forward to showcasing our players on Inter Miami CF's first international tour which will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Last Dance— TURKI ALALSHIKH (@Turki_alalshikh) November 21, 2023
مباراة تاريخية تجمع أساطير كرة القدم رونالدو و ميسي
نادي انتر ميامي يلعب ضد نادي النصر في بطولة كأس موسم الرياض… ⚽❤️🇸🇦
في المملكة ارينا 📌 Feb 2024
It's the last dance of football greatness! 🏆
Ronaldo vs Messi clash on the pitch.
Watch Inter Miami FC… pic.twitter.com/3aHtVGtFQI
The competition was announced without Inter Miami, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal officially confirming their participation with "stars of all participating clubs" expected for the event which is supposed take place at the recently inaugurated Kingdom Arena.
"H.E Turki Alalshikh welcomed the participation of Inter Miami CF, noting that the tournament will have a global following due to the prominent international football stars who play for the three clubs," read a statement shared by Turki Alalshikh, Saudi Arabian's Chairman of General Authority of Entertainment. "He stressed that the league is an extension of the major international events that Riyadh Season presents to visitors and to the world."
"For his part, Mr. Jorge Mas welcomed the participation of Inter Miami CF in Riyadh Season, praising the great development witnessed in the field of football in Saudi Arabia," added the statement which was later shot down by Inter Miami management. "In addition to the great transformations witnessed in the entertainment sector in the Kingdom."
Inter Miami's international tour will be confirmed and unveiled in the coming weeks as the Herons get busy this offseason following playoff heartache towards the end of the regular MLS season despite Messi's impressive impact following his arrival as a free agent over the summer.
Although Neymar is under contract with Al-Hilal, the Brazil international's injury would likely have prevented his participation in any games and therefore a first reunion since both he and Messi left Paris Saint-Germain last summer after two seasons together in the French capital.