Al-Nassr humiliate Messi’s Inter Miami as Cristiano Ronaldo watches from stands

Lionel Messi shakes hands with Al-Nassr defender Mohammed Al-Fatil after the game at Kingdom Arena. Photograph: Victor Fraile/USA Today Sports
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What was billed as a potential final meeting between longtime rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t materialize, but there was no doubt which of the superstars enjoyed Al-Nassr’s 6-0 rout of Inter Miami more on Thursday.

Messi spent all but the final seven minutes on the Miami bench looking increasingly glum as Al-Nassr, cheered on by Ronaldo sitting high in the Kingdom Arena stands recovering from a calf injury, ran riot in this friendly and scored three goals in the first 12 minutes.

Inside three minutes, Otavio fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Miami’s goal which had his Portuguese compatriot Ronaldo on his feet cheering and clapping. It happened again three minutes later as Brazil’s Anderson Talisca scored from close range.

Aymeric Laporte then did the opposite, sending a free-kick from inside the Al-Nassr half over the head of Miami keeper Drake Callender, who sprinted back toward his goal in vain attempt to keep the shot out.

The MLS team, 4-3 losers to Nassr’s Riyadh rival Al-Hilal three days previously in the first game of their Saudi Arabian tour, offered little in attack in the first-half apart from a Luis Suárez volley.

After the break, the goals continued for Al-Nassr, who were also missing Sadio Mané, who is on international duty with Senegal, and Saudi five players who are representing their country at the Asian Cup.

After 51 minutes, Talisca scored his second from the spot and midway through the half, Mohammed Maran headed a fifth. There was still time for Talisca to complete his hat-trick and Miami’s humiliation.

Messi came on in the closing stages but made little impact.

Miami’s preseason tour continues in Asia with games in Hong Kong on Sunday and Japan three days later.