Messi and Ronaldo score in PSG-Saudi match (Sports News) – In possibly the last meeting between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a match, the two did not disappoint. The recent World Cup winner scored the opener, while the new Al Nassr talisman netted a brace, as Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain narrowly defeated Ronaldo’s Saudi Pro League All Stars 5-4 in Riyadh. The controversial Portuguese superstar was also named Man of the Match, in a redemption match after his colourful year in Europe.
Messi and Ronaldo score in PSG-Saudi – Background
The exhibition match was the talk of the town, as it pitted the 37-year Ronaldo against his 35-year old rival for what could be their last meeting. Apart from competing for individual glory via the Ballon d’Or and other accolades, they also squared off numerous times, most notably in the Real Madrid and Barcelona El Clasico games from 2009 to 2018.
Ronaldo, who is now based in Saudi Arabia, played his first match ever in the country. He was named the captain of an all-star selection featuring players from Riyadh’s two biggest clubs: Al Nassr and Al Hilal. Messi, meanwhile made up one third of an attacking trio composed of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on a superstar-laden PSG team.
Messi and Ronaldo score in PSG-Saudi – Game Recap
At the opening whistle, Messi immediately made a statement on Ronaldo’s debut on Saudi soil. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was on the receiving end of Neymar and Mbappe’s interplay, and he slotted past the keeper with only 3 minutes in the game.
Ronaldo, however, was not to be outdone. On 11 minutes, the 37-year old veteran got the ball on the halfway line and evaded Carlos Soler. He then finished in the 34th minute on the penalty slot, to equalise with Messi’s earlier kick from the spot. He was awarded the penalty when he rose above the PSG defence and was punched in the face on accident by former Madrid teammate Keylor Navas.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner then followed up the goal with another one in first half stoppage time. He was then taken out by coach Rudi Garcia in the 60th minute, with PSG’s Christophe Galtier following suit as well by withdrawing Messi, Neymar and Mbappe.
At the time of Ronaldo and Messi’s exit, the scoreline was 4-3 in favour of PSG, as Sergio Ramos answered Ronaldo’s brace with a strike home after good work from Mbappe. Saudi’s Soo Jan then glanced past Navas, while Mbappe levelled again from the spot after the Riyadh All Stars handled the ball.
Messi and Ronaldo score in PSG-Saudi – Nine Goal Thriller
Even with the main draws of the match already rested, the action remained intense until the 90th minute. PSG Substitute Hugo Eketike then led a counter attack and struck into the far corner. The Saudi team’s Talisca then cut the lead with a pinpoint shot into the bottom corner. PSG took home a trophy for their participation in the friendly.
All in all, the event fulfilled the dream not just those of Saudi-based fans, but also footballing fanatics hoping to see yet another encounter between two footballing greats in their twilight years. Everyone was nostalgic to see Messi and Ronaldo hugging and interacting, as well as the Portuguese talking with former teammate Ramos and Mbappe and Neymar.
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