Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face each other when Paris Saint-Germain and Saudi All Star XI face each other in Riyadh on January 19.
This will be the first time the two stars will play against each other since December 2020, when Juventus and Barcelona clashed in the Champions League.
Messi and Ronaldo come into the match with contrasting results, in terms of international football. The Argentina returns to Middle East after winning the FIFA World Cup 2022, almost a month ago, in Qatar.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, will play his first match after the World Cup, where he scored just one goal - from the spot - and ended the WC campaign out of the starting lineup in the last two games for Portugal.
This will be the first clash between the two football greats where both are not from European sides. Ronaldo, after an illustrious career, spanning from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United over 20 years, chose to move to Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr on a two-and-half year deal, reportedly worth USD 200 million.
“I’m proud to make this decision . . . in Europe, my work is done. I played at the most important clubs. Asia is a new challenge. Thank you Al Nassr for giving the opportunity. I’m very happy and very proud,” Ronaldo said at his unveiling at the Saudi side.
When will Ronaldo play his first game for Al Nassr?
The 37-year-old will play his first match in Saudi Arabia against PSG, starring icons Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Though Ronaldo completed his move to Al Nassr in the first week of January, he was registered late, because of the league’s rules to register foreign players. Since Al Nassr already had its list full, it had to terminate the contract of Vincent Aboubakar to register the Portuguese.
Additionally, Ronaldo was serving a two-match ban imposed by England’s Football Association in November 2022 for hitting an Everton fan during his stint with Manchester United.
Al Nassr’s two matches post his move, against Al Ta’ee and Al Shabab, respectively, are done and the next match for the Saudi team, on January 22, will star Ronaldo.
However, the clash before that, between select stars from Al Nassr and Al Hilal, will see the former Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United star make his debut in the Middle East.
Will Messi play against Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia?
Lionel Messi returned to PSG training after the World Cup on January 4 and has started every match for the French champion since.
PSG was handed a shock defeat by Rennes in the previous match and the Argentine will look to return to winning ways with the club against Ronaldo.
Though Paris Saint-Germain has not released the final squads, the 35-year-old World Cup winner is expected to start against his old rival Ronaldo.
How high are the ticket demands for the Saudi All-Star XI vs PSG?
The highly anticipated showdown, which will take place at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, reportedly had more than two million online ticket requests.
The bidding for a VIP “Beyond Imagination” ticket to the match has already topped 10 million riyals ($2.66 million) in an auction that is set to end later on Tuesday.
The game has also captivated fans as it comes just over a month after Messi helped Argentina win the 2022 World Cup, the missing piece in his vast trophy collection.
Where and where will the PSG vs Saudi All Star XI be played featuring Messi and Ronaldo?
The friendly between PSG and Saudi All Star XI, featuring greats Ronaldo and Messi, will be played at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The match is scheduled for an 10:30 pm IST kick-off. (8 pm Saudi time)
The PSG vs Saudi All Star XI match can be streamed live on PSG’s official Youtube channel (PSG - Paris Saint-Germain), PSG TV website (PSGTV) and PSG’s official Facebook handle for Indian viewers.
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