Cristiano Ronaldo injury another setback for Inter Miami ahead of pre-season tour of Saudi Arabia

Inter Miami already have their minds set on their next two pre-season friendlies, in which they will be looking to sharpen up in attack having failed to find the net in their first two warm-up games of 2024 against El Salvador and FC Dallas, despite the presence of Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.

Despite not winning or indeed scoring a goal so far, The Herons pre-season has been ticking along smoothly, although that could soon be about to change as they embark on a mini-tour of Saudi Arabia.

Ronaldo could miss Messi reunion through injury

On Tuesday, Al Nassr confirmed they had cancelled their own two-game tour of China because of an injury suffered by former Real Madrid icon Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s eternal “rival”. With just over a week to go until Inter Miami are due to play the Riyadh-based club, there is a serious risk the Portugal captain could miss his long-awaited – and lucrative – “Last Dance” on 1 February with his Argentine counterpart.

Neymar leads list of Al Hilal absentees against Inter Miami

And the MLS team’s Saudi tour looks set to be further watered down by the fact Al Hilal, their other scheduled opponents in the Gulf state, will also be missing some important players because of the African Cup of Nations and the Asian Cup.

Moroccan goalkeeper Bono, one of the standout performers at the 2022 World Cup, Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Salem Al-Dawsari, one of the biggest Saudi stars, are among those that will miss the high-profile friendly. Messi and Suárez’s former Barcelona teammate Neymar, who signed for Al Hilal last August, will of course also be absent as he continues his recovery from an ACL tear.

Martino searching for solutions ahead of MLS 2024

Although the opposition will potentially be without some of their biggest hitters, that is unlikely to cause Inter Miami to change tact, with head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino viewing the games as an essential part of their preparation for the 2024 MLS season. With that in mind, Messi, Súarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, The Herons’ own biggest stars, are expected to feature.

Given his team’s attacking struggles in their first two matches of the year, Martino will need to use the games in Saudi Arabia to work out his best system and starting eleven, with the start of the new season fast approaching on 21 February.

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