PSG vs. Riyadh All-Star XI: Fan pays $2.6 million for VIP ticket to watch Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo
The fan will get to meet Ronaldo and Messi thanks to the pricey ticket Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are considered two of the greatest soccer players of all time, and one fan is paying quite a great sum to see what could be their final clash. A Saudi Arabian real estate magnate reportedly paid $2.6 million for a VIP ticket to a match between Messi's Paris Saint-Germain and a team consisting of players from Ronaldo's Al Nassr and Al Hilal.
✅🔴WATCH LIVE▶️ PSG vs Riyadh All-Star XI Live
✅🔴WATCH LIVE▶️ PSG vs Riyadh All-Star XI Live
The exhibition will be held at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Thursday. It will mark the Saudi Pro League debut of Ronaldo, 37, who signed with Al Nassr late last month on a contract worth $75 million annually.
To build excitement for the match, Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Entertainment Turki al-Sheikh announced a charity auction for a "Beyond Imagination" ticket. This ticket would allow the winning fan to attend the opening ceremony, access the team locker rooms, and meet players such as Ronaldo, Messi, and PSG's Kylian Mbappé.
Bidding for the "Beyond Imagination" ticket reportedly began at 1 million Saudi riyals ($266,000) before closing at 10 million riyals ($2.6 million). The proceeds, al-Sheikh said, will go to the Saudi charity Ehsan.
Ronaldo will begin his tenure with Al Nassr after an acrimonious divorce from Manchester United. On Nov. 22, the English Premier League club terminated Ronaldo's contract immediately after the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said the team was "betraying" him in a television interview. Manchester United described the decision as mutual, however, the club also thanked Ronaldo for his "immense contribution" over two stints at Old Trafford (2003-09, 2021-22). How to watch Lionel Messi vs. Christiano Ronaldo reunion match (1/19/23): FREE live stream, time, USA TV, channel for PSG vs. Riyadh All Star XI
PSG, led by forwards Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, faces Riyadh All Star XI, led by Christiano Ronaldo, in a Club Friendly match on Thursday, January 19, 2023 (1/19/23) at Parc des Princes in Paris, France.
PSG vs Saudi All-Star XI LIVE: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo set to renew their rivalry in the high-profile friendly in Riyadh.. with the Portuguese star in line to make his first appearance in Saudi Arabia Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will meet again on Thursday when Paris Saint-Germain take on an all-star team composed of Al Nassr and Al Hilal players in Saudi Arabia. With the Argentine world champion a PSG player and the Portuguese talisman now playing his trade in the Saudi Pro League, the world will be treated to another instalment of arguably the greatest individual soccer rivalry of the modern era.
Here's our look at their rivalry, how you can watch this match and more:
How to watch and odds
Date: Thursday, Jan. 19 | Time: 12:00 p.m. ET (midday)
Location: King Fahd international Stadium -- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
TV: beIN Sports USA | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Why are Messi and CR7 meeting?
Messi plays for PSG who are going to Saudi Arabia as part of their latest winter tour. Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al Nassr recently who are one of the two Saudi sides which will contribute towards the all-star team. This will not be considered the Portuguese star's debut for his new club as he is not strictly playing for Al Nassr. The all-star team will be coached by guest boss Marcelo Gallardo and not Al Nassr head coach Rudi Garcia.
Why in Saudi Arabia?
This game was originally supposed to take place in early 2022 but PSG's tour had to be postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. At that time, Messi played for PSG, but Ronaldo was still in Europe with Manchester United. However, the contracts signed for this tour remained valid which is why PSG were obliged to return as part of their latest visit to Qatar which has since hosted the FIFA World Cup which Messi won with Argentina.
Will this be their last meeting?
It is possible that this is the final time that we see these two going up against each other on the pitch. Their last meeting came in late 2020 when Juventus thrashed Barcelona 3-0 and Ronaldo scored two penalties so these face-offs are becoming increasingly rarer since the height of their rivalry in La Liga. Never say never, but there is no guarantee that these two play in the same league again so this could well be their last dance as adversaries.
Classic Messi vs. Ronaldo battles
The obvious head-to-head between Messi and Ronaldo has been the Ballon d'Or which the Argentina has won seven times to the Portuguese's five. Messi could yet add to his collection after triumphing in Qatar but there is less confidence that Ronaldo will extend his set beyond the five that he already has. It is probably safe to say that Messi has won this one.
Aug. 2011 -- Barca beat Real 3-2 in the Supercopa second leg with Messi scoring twice and Ronaldo tallying once. It was not the most important of games, but a Clasico remains a Clasico and it foreshadowed the explosive growth of their rivalry on the global stage.
Oct. 2012 -- Both players scored twice in a 2-2 draw in La Liga which included a sensational Messi free-kick. Barca were dominant that season, but Real held their own in this one at Camp Nou and it was the perfect illustration of how El Clasico became just about them at one point -- the biggest rivalry in soccer in a collective and individual sense.
Mar. 2014 -- A 4-3 win for Barca away at Real in a Clasico for the ages with Messi scoring three times and assisting the visitors' other goal and Ronaldo scoring once for the beaten hosts. Santiago Bernabeu witnessed greatness that night with Karim Benzema, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, and Sergio Ramos just some of the supporting cast on an unforgettable night.
May 2018 -- Their final meeting in Barca and Real colors, each scored once in a 2-2 draw just before Ronaldo's departure to Juventus signaled the end of their dual La Liga dominance.
Fans can watch the match for free via a trial to fuboTV.
Here’s what you need to know:
What: Club Friendly
Who: PSG vs. Riyadh All Star XI
When: Thursday, January 19, 2023
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Where: Parc des Princes (Paris)
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