Saudi official trolls Lionel Messi after he fails to start 'The Last Dance' vs Al Nassr
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A Saudi Arabian official jokingly trolled Lionel Messi after he was unable to start a match billed as 'The Last Dance' against Al Nassr.
But the day before the match, it was announced that Ronaldo was ruled out through injury.
It was hoped that the Portugal legend would return in time to play in the fixture, but manager Luis Castro confirmed that he is still in the final part of his recovery to join the rest of the squad.
As a result, Ronaldo had to watch from the stands as Al Nassr ran out comprehensive winners, with former Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte scoring from inside his own half.
But they did so without Messi for 83 minutes, with the Argentinian not fit enough to start at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.
The Argentinian icon was suffering from discomfort following a recent injury, and it was suggested that he may only appear if he was contracted to do so.
He eventually played the final stages of the encounter, but the result was well and truly sewn up by then.
And following the game, a high-ranking Saudi official trolled the reigning men's Ballon d'Or for his absence from the start.
Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of Saudi's General Authority of Entertainment and an advisor to the country's Royal Court under the rank of minister, told beIN Sports (quote via Daily Star): "I received news that Messi would not play.
He joked: "He saw that Cristiano was absent and was afraid that he would lose against Al Nassr against Ronaldo. He would stumble and walk away."
When Messi did enter the field, the Saudi official was also seen holding up six fingers - with the score being 6-0 at the time.
#Turki Alalshikh, A member of the Saudi government, sent a message to Lionel Messi as he entered the field as Al Nassr led 6-0 against Inter Miami. 😂✋🏽☝🏽 & that made Francis Ngannou laugh! 😭 pic.twitter.com/PczFQbsQZD— maine (@zackmaine911) February 1, 2024
The comments were, of course, in jest, with Alalshikh actually hosting Messi earlier this week.
The pair met in Saudi before the Al Nassr clash, with Messi the global tourism ambassador to Saudi Arabia.