Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and the rest of Paris Saint-Germain flew to Riyadh to play Cristiano Ronaldo and a bunch of Saudi league All-Stars. The “friendly” match was hard-fought and frenetic, even producing a red card, not a normal friendly match circumstance.
Both Messi and Ronaldo scored to the delight of the promoters. Heck, it seemed as if everybody might score, in a game that produced nine goals and ended in PSG’s favor 5-4.
Despite being named captain of the Saudi All-Stars, Ronaldo actually has yet to play a match there for his club team Al-Nassr FC. The superstar was glad to get his first big game on top of the oil reserves under his belt.
Ronaldo shared his thoughts: “So happy to be back on the pitch, and on the score sheet!! And nice to see some old friends!”
His happiness may be influenced by this: At 37 Ronaldo’s move from the elite Premier League and Manchester United to his new Saudi team reportedly included the richest contract in sports history. Some have put the figure at $75 million a year.
The game had been scheduled for before the World Cup, but had to be delayed because of Covid. Nevertheless PSG was reportedly getting a $10 million appearance fee so they honored the obligation despite a schedule already thicker than, well, oil.