Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in his first game in Saudi Arabia and Lionel Messi was also on the scoresheet as Paris St-Germain beat a Riyadh All-Star XI 5-4 in an entertaining encounter.
The exhibition match in the Saudi capital could possibly be the final time that two of the greatest players of all time share a pitch together.
Messi opened the scoring and Ronaldo netted twice for 2-2 at half-time. Both players were substituted off just after the hour mark.
Ronaldo has had to wait for his debut since a big move to Al-Nassr because of a suspension from his time at Manchester United.
And it was fitting that his first game in the Middle Eastern country was a friendly against PSG, and his old rival Messi.
The Argentina captain, who lifted the World Cup in Qatar just a month ago, latched on to Neymar’s pass to open the scoring after two minutes. However, Ronaldo was to stamp his mark on proceedings.
The 37-year-old Portugal skipper’s first goal was a penalty which he won himself. PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas, a former Real Madrid teammate, floored the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, leaving him with a badly bruised cheek. However, he showed his courage and desire are still there by picking himself up to covert the spot kick. Ronaldo’s second goal saw him react quickest to finish after his header came back off the woodwork. Both goals saw his trademark celebration, to the delight of his new fans who joined in.
Both players were substituted on the hour mark and could have faced each other for the last time, unless they cross paths again in the twilight of their magnificent careers.
Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or award and four European Golden Shoes, the most by a European player. He has won 32 trophies in his career, including seven league titles, five UEFA Champions Leagues, the UEFA European Championship and the UEFA Nations League. Ronaldo holds the Champions League records for most appearances (183), goals (140), and assists (42). He holds the record for most goals in the European Championship (14), international goals (118), and joint-most international appearances (196). He is one of a select band of players to have made over 1,100 professional career appearances, in which he has scored over 800 official senior career goals for club and country. He is the only player to score in five FIFA World Cup tournaments.
Messi has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards and a record six European Golden Shoes. Until leaving the club in 2021, he had spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he won a club-record 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues. With his country, he won the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. A prolific goal scorer and creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (474), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (192) and the Copa América (17). He has also the most international goals by a South American male (98). Messi has scored over 790 senior career goals for club and country and has the most goals by a player for a single club (672).
Ronaldo made his competitive debut for new club Al Nassr in their 1-0 win over Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League on Sunday. Messi and PSG travel to Pays de Cassel in the French Cup on Monday evening.