The battles between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo came to define an era of football and they may now have met on the field for the final time as Paris Saint-Germain beat a Saudi All-Star team in a friendly.
The fixture in Saudi Arabia ended with a 5-4 win for the French team, which started with Messi himself getting on the scoresheet after only three minutes.
Ronaldo was the star attraction for the Middle Eastern side, which was led by coach Marcelo Gallardo.
With Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Messi in the line-up for Christophe Galtier’s team, goals were always likely.
His well-timed run through the middle was spotted by Neymar and he rounded goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais with ease.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo matched up for likely the final time as PSG traveled to Saudi Arabia to take on the Riyadh All-Stars in a friendly match in the Middle Eastern nation’s capital.
The friendly was part of the state-sponsored Saudi festival known as Riyadh Seasons, and what a show it was, featuring nine total goals, a red card, and endless star power through the 90 minutes of end-to-end action.
Both Messi and Ronaldo found the scoresheet, as did Kylian Mbappe, and PSG emerged with a 5-4 victor
Ronaldo struck twice, once via a penalty and once from open play, while Messi gave teammates Mbappe and Neymar chances from the penalty spot as well. Mbappe deposited his opportunity, but only after Neymar had flubbed his chance to score.
Juan Bernat was sent off in the 39th minute for a last-man foul, leaving PSG down a man for much of the game, but it didn’t matter as both sides took advantage of the exhibition environment to put on a show in front of net.
This match was little more than a showcase event between two star-studded squads featuring two iconic players, but the two teams will hope that good performances can springboard them further into the season’s competitive matches. The attacking talent on both sides really did steal the show.
Ronaldo responded half an hour later from the penalty spot, with Marquinhos giving PSG the lead and Ronaldo again leveling before half-time.
Juan Bernat also saw red for the visitors in a game which also saw Neymar miss a penalty, making him the biggest star name not on the scoresheet.
Sergio Ramos stepped up to the occasion and scored PSG’s third of the night, with Mbappe adding a fourth from the penalty spot before Hugo Ekitike made it five.
The Saudi Arabian side did not give up and Hyun-Soo Jang’s equaliser at 3-3 made sure that the crowd at the King Fahd International Stadium were entertained.
Anderson Talica added a ninth goal of the night in injury time, but it was Qatari-owned PSG who ran out the victors.