Football fans will be treated to a farewell feast in February 2024 after it was confirmed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face off for the final time.

The fiercest footballing debate of this generation will be revived when Messi's Inter Miami travel to Riyadh next year for a one-off clash against Ronaldo's Al-Nassr. An exact date for the showdown is yet to be announced, but football romantics the world over will be waiting with bated breath at the prospect of a reunion between the two best players of the past 20 years.

'The Last Dance' will form part of the Riyadh Season Cup, and while it may be billed as a 'friendly', one can bet the two headline stars will see it as anything but. Messi has won 16 of the 36 competitive clashes between the long-time rivals to date, while Ronaldo has emerged on the winning side in just 11 of those encounters.

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The much-anticipated meeting will take place a little more than a year after the two last faced off in January 2023. And both players got on the score sheet on that occasion when Paris Saint-Germain edged a Riyadh All-Star XI 5-4 (also in the Saudi Arabian capital).

That was the sixth straight clash between the pair in which at least one of them has found the back of the net. And supporters will be hoping both veterans have a prominent hand to play in what will almost definitely be their final on-field face-off.

Who will emerge victorious in Messi and Ronaldo's 'Last Dance'? Let us know in the comments section below.

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Lionel Messi (L) walks past Riyadh All-Star's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo
The pair last met in a friendly in January 2023
Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) helps FC Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi to get up
The duo have endured a mixed relationship over the years

Both Ronaldo, 38, and Messi, 36, are contracted to their respective clubs until 2025. However, any opportunities to stage matchups between their clubs are sure to dry up in the next couple of years.

Talk over the fixture was predictably feisty after the fixture was announced, with some suggesting it would be an 'easy win' for Inter Miami. Many Ronaldo loyalists took the opposite view, however, as one X user forecasted "another date for Ronaldo to continue is dominance in this debate."

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) stands past Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo
Messi has 16 wins from 36 competitive games against Ronaldo, while the latter has only 11
Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF reacts against the New York City FC during the first half in the Noche d'Or friendly match at DRV PNK Stadium
Messi is enjoying his football again in Miami

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Some suggested it was Ronaldo who kept pushing for chances to meet his old nemesis as one social media user wrote: "From Al Nasr vs PSG to Al Nasr vs Inter Miami. Why is this guy obsessed with Messi?"

'The Last Dance' is a nod to the name legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson gave to his final year leading the Chicago Bulls. Jackson entered the 1997/98 season knowing full well he and Michael Jordan would likely move on at its climax, and there's a sense this will also be a swansong of epic proportions.

Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates his goal during the Saudi Pro League football match between Al-Nassr and Al-Khaleej
While Ronaldo has been thriving in Saudi Arabia
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) stands past Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo
'The Last Dance' will be the pair's 38th overall encounter

Barcelona legend Messi and Real Madrid icon Ronaldo have been responsible for arguably the greatest rivalry football has witnessed, even eclipsing the age-old debate between Pele and Diego Maradona disciples. The pair have each won just about every trophy available to them and won a combined 13 Ballon d'Ors (a record eight for Messi and five for Ronaldo).

Although next year's climactic clash won't provide any conclusive answers to that war, fans will be glad of at least one more head-to-head between the two GOATs of modern football. The battle lines have been drawn ahead of what promises to be a fateful showdown - though tickets could be hard to come by.

That is, assuming it does go ahead. Hours after the announcement, Inter Miami released a contradicting statement which read: "Earlier today, an announcement was issued stating that Inter Miami CF is scheduled to play in the Riyadh Season Cup. 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."