PSG touch down in Riyadh as Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi are greeted with flowers off the plane ahead of showdown against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi All-Star side
- The PSG squad landed in Saudi Arabia Thursday ahead of their friendly match
- Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe will take on Cristiano Ronaldo in Riyadh
- Ronaldo will be part of a Saudi All-Star team after he joined Al-Nassr
- And it could be the last time he faces his contemporary and rival Messi
- A Saudi mogul paid more than £2million at auction to watch the game
- Here’s everything you need to know about the money-spinning friendly
Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and the rest of the PSG squad have touched down in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia ahead of their friendly match against a Saudi Arabia All-Star side that will feature Cristiano Ronaldo.
The French team was greeted with flowers as they got off a plane in the Saudi capital as they prepare to play Ronaldo Thursday in what is sure to be a highly-viewed affair.
The Portuguese striker has yet to make his debut for Al-Nassr since joining the club, and ESPN reported the match had more than two million online ticket requests, with the game selling out within minutes of going on sale.
Lionel Messi was given flowers after getting off the plane along with the rest of the PSG squad
Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi are seen arriving Thursday ahead of their friendly match
Mbappe was approached by a fan for a selfie after landing in the Saudi capital on Thursday
And while the match will mark the beginning of Ronaldo’s career in Saudi Arabia, it could very likely be the last meeting between him and and his contemporary Messi.
The pair have faced off 34 times at the club level, with Messi coming out on top 14 times, Ronaldo winning on 11 occasions and nine of the games ending in a draw.
In those games, Ronaldo has scored 21 goals to Messi’s 20, though the Argentine has had the better year as he lifted the World Cup with Argentina.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo saw his contract terminated by Manchester United after expressing he wanted to leave the club, and was unable to latch on with another elite side afterwards.
Cristiano Ronaldo is set to play his first game in Saudi Arabia Thursday after joining Al-Nassr
Ronaldo was unveiled as an Al-Nassr player last week but had to serve a two-game suspension
The pair have battled for more than a decade as two of the greatest players in the sport
68,752 fans will be on hand for the star-studded match on Thursday at the King Fahd Stadium, though one of them will have a considerably more luxurious experience than the rest.
A ‘golden ticket’ for the clash was on sale for £2.2m last week with businessman Mushref Al-Ghamdi leading the bidding in the auction at the time.
The Saudi General Entertainment Authority said the ‘ golden ticket’ will give its holder ‘beyond imagination’ privileges’, including attending the awards ceremony, access to both teams changing rooms and a place at a dinner attended by each side.
Messi scored in his first game back for PSG after his World Cup triumph with Argentina
Messi is seen with Sergio Ramos, Neymar, Marquinhos and Gianluigi Donnarumma in Riyadh
There is a chance, however, that the game won’t be Messi’s last on Saudi soil. Messi has been linked to Al-Nassr’s arch-rivals Al-Hilal, with the Argentinian superstar reportedly lined up for a £245m-a-year deal to join them.
Regardless of the Argentina star’s future, Thursday’s match is sure to be a fascinating contest and the game kicks off at 5:00pm UK time.
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