February 4, 2023

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both score in thrilling exhibition match in Saudi Arabia

Double Ronaldo, Messi’s goal is already in the 3rd minute. Perhaps the last meeting of Leo and Cristiano

Double Ronaldo, Messi’s goal is already in the 3rd minute. Perhaps the last meeting of Leo and Cristiano

 Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo put on a show as they came head to head in Paris Saint-Germain’s 5-4 win over a Riyadh All-Star XI on Thursday.

The exhibition match was played in Saudi Arabia’s capital and saw the two superstars renew their storied rivalry for possibly the last time.

Despite being a friendly, the game was played at a furious pace as a packed out crowd inside the King Fahd Stadium was treated to a goal-fest between the French champion and a team consisting of the best players from Saudi’s domestic league.

It was Messi who opened the scoring with a well taken finish within three minutes before Ronaldo equalized from the penalty spot after colliding with PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Juan Bernat was then sent off for the French giant after bringing down Salem Al Dawsari as the last man, before defender Marquinhos reestablished PSG’s lead by turning in a wonderful cross from Kylian Mbappé.

The breathtaking action continued with Neymar seeing his penalty saved before Ronaldo leveled the scores 2-2 before the break when he reacted quickest after his initial header hit the post.

The Portugal international has yet to make his debut since moving to Al Nassr after the World Cup, but he delighted the crowds on Thursday by performing his trademark celebration.

The 37-year-old is set to make his debut on Sunday as Al Nassr hosts Ettifaq at Mrsool Park.

Despite being an exhibition match, the game was played at a ferocious pace.

There was no let up in the second half with Sergio Ramos putting PSG back ahead after more brilliant work from Mbappé, before Jang Hyun-soo’s header leveled proceedings again.

Mbappé then got on the score sheet himself after converting another penalty before both Ronaldo and Messi were substituted after the hour mark.

Even without the two big names on the pitch, the game continued at a frantic pace and youngster Hugo Ekitike eventually put PSG out of sight after calmly finishing off a counterattack.

There was still time, though, for Anderson Talisca to convert a long-range effort which ended up serving as little more than a consolation.