FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Neymar, Mbappé and Messi will face Cristiano Ronaldo on January 19, 2023 for a friendly match.
FOOTBALL – The MNM-Ronaldo clash will soon take place. Lionel Messi’s Paris SG will go to Riyadh on January 19 to face a selection made up of the best players from the Saudi clubs Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, where Cristiano Ronaldo was recently transferred, the capital club said on Monday 9 January.
The Parisians will first go to Doha on January 17, as they have been accustomed to doing for training courses or tours since the club was taken over in 2011 by the sovereign fund Qatar Sports Investment (QSI).
Paris Saint-Germain will perform its traditional winter tour in Qatar and will play a friendly match in Riyadh! 🔴🔵 #PSGQatarTour2023 🇶🇦
— Paris Saint Germain (@PSG_inside)
But beyond the financial aspect of the operation, which will involve the sponsors of PSG, the trip will be the opportunity to organize the reunion, on the ground, of Messi and Ronaldo, historical rivals of world football for more than ten years.
The Portuguese star has just left with a bang Manchester United to commit to Al-Nassr until 2025, where it is estimated that he will earn 200 million euros during his contract.
Goal 2030 World Cup
His arrival is part of the desire of the authorities of Saudi Arabia to draw the spotlight on their championship, with a view, perhaps, to filing a joint candidacy with Greece and Egypt to organize the World Cup in 2030, while its Qatari neighbor has just hosted the Mondial-2022.
The opportunity is therefore good for the kingdom to plan a new meeting between Ronaldo, five-time Ballon d’Or, and Messi, seven-time winner of the trophy, at the international stadium of King Fahd, in Riyadh.
Their rivalry animated world football from 2009 to 2018, when they both played in the Spanish league, Ronaldo at Real Madrid and Messi at FC Barcelona.
French coach Rudi Garcia, on the Al-Nassr bench, confirmed the match on Sunday. “It will be a mix between Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr. For development, to see PSG, to see the great Parisian players, it’s actually a good thing (…) The main thing is that it shows how keen Saudi Arabia is on sport, soccer “.
However, this trip poses a problem in terms of the calendar: PSG must face an amateur level formation – Reims Sainte-Anne (N3), Wasquehal (N2) or Pays de Cassel US (R1) – in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France on January 21 or 22, two or three days after the meeting in Riyadh.
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