Football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi clashed with each other in a friendly match between Riyadh XI, consisting of stars from Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, against French Club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the King Fahd International Stadium on Thursday night.
This might be the soccer icons’ final match, with Ronaldo scoring two goals in his debut for a Saudi soccer team after Messi scored the first goal of the on-the-edge game.
The 37-year-old will play in the friendly before making his competitive debut for the Saudi Pro League team against Ettifaq on Sunday, according to Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia. That would be the 14th game of a 30-game season. Al Nassr, whose last victory was in 2019, are presently at top of the league with a talented team.
Saudi Professional League (SPL) club had signed Cristiano Ronaldo on a two-and-a-half-year contract at the end of last yeat which would pay him, reportedly, more than $200 million a year.
Minutes of Game
Messi scored the game’s first goal in the third minute, while Ronaldo added two more goals from the penalty spot before halftime in the 34th and 45th minutes.
In the 61st minute of the game, Ronaldo was removed from the action, and Messi was removed one minute later.
Ronaldo scored twice in his first game after joining Al Nassr of the Saudi Pro League after leaving Manchester United.
Messi, who is now back with PSG after helping Argentina win the World Cup, scored the game’s opening goal, but Ronaldo, who plays for Al Nassr and rival team Al Hilal in Riyadh, scored the game’s equaliser for the Saudi select team.
The Riyadh Season Team had multiple opportunities despite falling down early.
Ronaldo was a constant menace, and when Keylor Navas collided with him in goal, he was awarded a penalty. The impact had left Ronaldo with a large red bruise on his cheek, but he lifted himself up and calmly converted the penalty kick to tie the score.
After the equaliser, Bernat received a red card, but the Ligue 1 team handled losing a man admirably by scoring through defender Marquinhos.
Despite defender Juan Bernat being sent off for a second time in the 39th minute, PSG prevailed 5-4 in the back-and-forth game.
At the King Fahd International Stadium on Thursday, Paris Saint-Germain defeated the Riyadh Season Team 5-4 with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
It could be the final time Ronaldo and longtime foe Messi share a field together because Ronaldo quit European club football to play in Saudi Arabia.
The two, who have combined to win 12 Ballon d’Or honours, last squared off in the 2020 Champions League match between Juventus and Barcelona.
PSG returns to action on Monday in the French Cup against Pays de Cassel following their journey to the Middle East.
After the half, the goals kept coming thick and quick as Ramos converted a Mbappe cross before Jang scored to tie the score at 3-3 with a near-post header from a corner.
Ali Al-handball Bulaihi’s awarded the visitors a penalty, which was skillfully converted by Mbappe on the hour. Mbappe’s final contribution came shortly after, when he was substituted along with teammates Messi, Neymar, and Ronaldo.
Following a lung-busting run from the halfway line, Ekitike increased PSG’s advantage to 5-3 before Anderson Talisca scored for the Saudis in extra time.
Most soccer observers consider Messi and Ronaldo to be among the best to ever play the game, and their dozens of showdowns over the years have become sporting legend.
The rivalry between them peaked in the early 2010s, when the two were in the prime of their careers and played for arch-rival clubs in Spain—Ronaldo lined up for Real Madrid while Messi was at FC Barcelona. The two have translated their accomplishments on the field to financial success off of it, but their rivalry even extends into business ventures: Ronaldo has a lifelong endorsement deal with Nike and Messi has a lifelong agreement with Adidas.
Two against each other
Opportunities to witness the five-time Ballon d’Or winner square up against his enduring foe have been scarce ever since Ronaldo bid La Liga and Real Madrid farewell in 2018.
In reality, Juventus’ Champions’ League group-stage match against Barcelona in 2020/21 was the only occasion the two GOAT contenders have faced off on a field in the previous five years.
Will Messi and Ronaldo play each other again?
And since Ronaldo was unable to compete in the first match at the Allianz Stadium, the most recent match between the two players ended up taking place on December 8, 2020, at Camp Nou.
Despite the fact that Ronaldo’s transfer to Al-Nassr appeared to dash any dreams of a 37th and final match, a miraculous turn of events means they are still on track to dance the dance once again.
Goals: Messi 22-21 Ronaldo
Assists: Messi 12-1 Ronaldo
Goals per game: Messi 0.61-0.58 Ronaldo
Minutes per goal: Messi 142.7-143.0 Ronaldo
Minutes per goal contribution: Messi 92.4-136.5 Ronaldo
Hat-tricks: Messi 1-0 Ronaldo
Free-kick goals: Messi 2-0 Ronaldo
Penalty goals: Messi 7-6 Ronaldo
Headed goals: Ronaldo 2-1 Messi
Weak-foot goals: Messi 3-3 Ronaldo
It turns out that Messi has a superior personal set of statistics than Ronaldo when it comes to direct confrontations, but wow is it close.
Yes, Messi has more assists, hat-tricks, free-kick goals, headed goals, and weak-footed goals than anyone else, but the race for most goals overall is quite close.
It’s absurd to consider that Ronaldo and Messi are only one goal apart after 36 games, many of which included Barcelona and Real Madrid.