In Saudi Arabia, Messi and Ronaldo put on a show for their reunion

FRANK FIFE / AFP Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi (L) passes Riyadh All-Star’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) during the Riyadh Season Cup football match between Riyadh All-Stars and Paris Saint- Germain at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh on January 19, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)


Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during PSG’s match in Saudi Arabia, January 19, 2023.

FOOTBALL – Although Paris Saint-Germain did not treat its defensive problems, the friendly match against the Saudi selection (5-4) this Thursday, January 19, did not lack a twist. A show allowed by the presence of two stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo each scored, in this possibly final rivalry.

In terms of entertainment and marketing, this prestigious match was a success. The stadium was filled and shaking with happiness with every ball of “CR7”, author of a double, PSG collected more than 10 million euros, welcomed as financial fair play watched it carefully, and released his fourth jersey, a black streaked one. with glowing lines that evoke the illuminated Eiffel Tower.

Despite the defeat, the Saudi public, especially those who watched the clash between Ronaldo and Messi, also enjoyed it until the end. The brand-new world champion was first to shine, scoring from the start with a superb shadow pass from Neymar (3rd).

Ronaldo answered blow for blow

CR7 then equalized with a penalty (34th sp), after being accidentally boxed by Keylor Navas in a clearance, before repeating the gift from Ramos, another former Real partner.

However, this away trip, as PSG accepted its first two defeats of the season in January, did not provide an answer to the defensive fragility of the Parisians. Against a meeting made up of players from two big clubs in the Saudi capital, al-Nassr and al-Hilal, PSG dominated, even in ten, but gave away many chances.

The defensive concerns of Christophe Galtier’s team crossed the desert, like Sergio Ramos, scorer but passive or guilty in the goals of the All Season Ryad formation. At least he assured them “gnoc”. They scored four shorthanded goals, after the exclusion of Juan Bernat (39th).

At 2-2, Ronaldo, but between Ramos and Marquinhos, hit the post with his head, then the Spaniard completely ripped his clearance and offered the goal to CR7 (45th + 6th), which should play in his first game on Sunday of the Saudi Championship. with al-Nassr against al-Ettifaq.

Captained by Kylian Mbappe

Ramos was easily beaten by South Korean Jang Hyun-soo in the equalizer at 3-3 (56th), which he pushed behind, to no avail. The action leading to Bernat’s red also betrayed PSG’s fever, Achraf Hakimi’s chain of errors on Gonzalo Martinez after the Spanish side’s Mohammed al-Dawsari was egregious. Last defender, Bernat is logically excluded.

Neymar, who has not been in good shape since his exit in the quarter-finals of the World Cup with Brazil, has, rarely, missed a penalty, which was stopped by the goalkeeper of the Saudi selection (45th + 1) .

Not everyone was negative about the performance of PSG, who play Monday in Lens against Pays de Cassel (R1, 6th division), in the Coupe de France. Kylian Mbappé, short-lived captain in the second half, after the departure of Marquinhos and before leaving the turn (62nd), regained his brilliance.

He offered “Mark” the goal of 2-1 (43rd) and Ramos’s 3-2 (54th) then scored from the penalty spot 4-3 (60th). In other good news, the youngsters were in good form at the end of the match, with Ismaël Gharbi offering the good opening goal of K.-O. to Hugo Ekitike (78th).

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