Messi, Ronaldo to meet in Saudi friendly

Cristiano RonaldoLionel Messi

FILE – Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (left) walks past Argentina forward Lionel Messi during the UEFA Champions League Group G soccer match between Barcelona and Juventus at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December 8 2020. (Photo by Josep LAGO/AFP)

Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain will play a friendly match against a team of players from Cristiano Ronaldo’s new club, Al Nassr and their Saudi rivals, Al Hilal in Riyadh on January 19. , the French champion announced on Monday.

Qatar-owned PSG will travel to Doha on January 17 before moving to the Saudi capital for the match at King Fahd Stadium, which will see Messi and Ronaldo resume their relationship. their enemy.

Messi returned to training with PSG last week after taking a two-week break following Argentina’s World Cup win in Qatar in December.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo, who will turn 38 in February, recently joined Al Nassr after agreeing on a contract that runs until 2025 and is believed to be worth more than 200 million euros ($214 million).

His arrival at Al Nassr, who is coached by Frenchman Rudi Garcia, comes as Saudi Arabia looks to improve its football profile in the country ahead of the possibility of co-hosting the 2030 World Cup alongside Greece. and Egypt.

Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the sport for the past 15 years, winning the Ballon d’Or 12 times between them.

Their rivalry grew over the course of nine years when they faced each other in Spain, when Messi played for Barcelona and Ronaldo played for Real Madrid.

Riyadh clubs Al Hilal and Al Nassr are two of Saudi Arabia’s most successful teams.

PSG have had a habit of traveling to Qatar in the winter since the Gulf nation bought the club in 2011.

However, this trip comes despite the fact that the Ligue 1 leaders have a French Cup match scheduled for the weekend of January 21 and 22 against rivals in the lower division that has yet to be announced. determined.

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