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Thriller Riyadh All-Stars vs PSG friendly as Messi scores and Cristiano Ronaldo hits a brace

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By Martin Graham | 20th Jan 2023

Lionel Messi opened the score in a thrilling encounter between PSG and Riyadh All-Star. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace in his first game since joining Al-Nassr.

Saudi Arabia are trying to build their sports profile. It is the reason Al-Nassr signed Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar did not come cheap, but it has drawn attention to the Saudi Pro League. The former Manchester United forward is yet to play an official game for his new club, but the day inches closer.

Perhaps the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo will open doors for more superstars to arrive in the middle Eastern country. There is no denying that Ronaldo’s arch-rival Lionel Messi is one player wanted in the country. Earlier reports suggested interest of Al-Hilal in the Argentine superstar. It would take something monumental to bring him to Saudi Arabia.

The rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi has gone a few notches down, with the former Real Madrid star moving to the Saudi Pro League. They had the opportunity to have one last dance in a friendly between an All-Star team that included players from Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal. It was a wild game that saw both stars on the score sheet.

Ronaldo and Messi score in a fiery encounter
It was an entertaining exhibition match between the Saudi All-Star team on Thursday night and Paris Saint-Germain. It was a chance for Saudi fans to see their stars in close quarters. The game delivered in every metric to measure a game. It had cards, penalties, great saves and goals aplenty. Of course, the fans were not disappointed as their stars all got on the scoresheet. However, the Riyadh All-Star XI lost 5-4 to PSG.

When Messi hit the back of the net with barely three minutes of the game, it looked likely to be a long night for Ronaldo and his teammates. The goal only served as a teaser for what was to come. It took another half an hour before the game witnessed another goal. On 34 minutes, Ronaldo equalised for the home team.

Marquinhos put PSG ahead again, but Ronaldo was in his superman form and drew his side level again just before halftime. The first half had produced the goods. PSG defender Juan Bernat was given his marching orders for a bizarre tackle, while Neymar saw his penalty saved by the All-Star goalkeeper.

PSG added more goals in the second half through Sergio Ramos, Kylian Mbappe and Hugo Ekitike. Two goals from Jang Hyun-Soo and Talisca put some respectability to the scores.

Ronaldo’s future in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have put the debacle at Manchester United behind him. The Portugal international had struggled to find a new club after parting ways with the Red Devils before landing a mega contract with Al-Nassr. Ronaldo has not played any games for his new club.

In the All-Star game against PSG, Ronaldo was named Man of the Match after scoring a brace. It was his first game since signing for the Saudi club. Ronaldo will likely make his Al-Nassr debut in the Saudi Pro League at home against Al Ittifaq on Sunday, 22 January.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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