Ronaldo, Messi to rekindle rivalry in blockbuster friendly match in Saudi Arabia
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are set to renew their rivalry on Thursday, January 19, 2023, when they meet in an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia
The match has come as the Portugal forward gears up for his first game in Saudi Arabia since joining Al Nassr.
After a glittering career in Europe that saw him win four UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid and two Scudettos at Juventus, Ronaldo signed for Al Nassr.
He described it as the “right moment” to share his experience in Asia. The Saudi club is the latest stop in Ronaldo’s career that began in 2002 at Sporting CP.
Thereafter, the forward spent two spells at Manchester United, the last of which ended on a bitter note as he exited following his acrimonious split with the club.
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Ronaldo and Messi have dominated football’s debate about the greatest of all time (GOAT) for the best part of 10 years.
They will face off on the pitch on Thursday for the first time since December 2020 when Juventus beat FC Barcelona 3-0.
Ronaldo will lead Riyadh ST XI, a team made up of players from Al Hilal and Al Nassr, against Messi’s Paris St-Germain (PSG) in the exhibition contest.
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Nothing is at stake, but fans are still excited by the prospect of watching the two stars clash.
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 exhibition game will also feature other key PSG players such as Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and Neymar.
Saudi internationals Salem Al-Dawsari, who scored in the shock group-stage win over Argentina in Qatar, and Saud Abdulhamid will play too.
It was reported on Monday that PSG will earn just over 10 million euros for the game.