Watch: Goals galore as Ronaldo and Messi roll back the years in battle of GOATS | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Watch: Goals galore as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi roll back the years in battle of GOATS at Riyadh

By, New Delhi
Jan 20, 2023 09:16 AM IST

Former El Clasico rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo took the center stage in what might be their final meeting at Riyadh. Messi and Co. outclassed Ronaldo-led Saudi Arabia All-Star XI in the nine-goal thriller on Thursday.

Friendly in nature only, the reunion of goal machines Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was somewhat personal for Saudi Arabia All-Star XI and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) as both teams played out a thrilling contest at the King Fahd International Stadium on Wednesday. Two of the greatest players in the history of the beautiful game, former El Clasico rivals Messi and Ronaldo took the center stage for the umpteenth time in a one-off exhibition match at Riyadh.

Cristiano Ronaldo gestures playing for a combined XI of Saudi Arabian teams Al Nassr and Al Hilal is flanked by PSG's Lionel Messi during a friendly match(AP)
Cristiano Ronaldo gestures playing for a combined XI of Saudi Arabian teams Al Nassr and Al Hilal is flanked by PSG's Lionel Messi during a friendly match(AP)

Giving PSG an early lead in the action-packed encounter, Argentina's World Cup-winning captain Messi netted the opener for the Ligue 1 giants inside the first four minutes of the game. Restoring parity in the 'Messi vs Ronaldo' contest, CR7 netted the equaliser through a brilliant penalty. Minutes before being awarded the spot kick, Ronaldo had copped a nasty blow on the cheekbone from PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas in the first half of the exhibition match at Riyadh.

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ALSO READ: Messi, Mbappe on target as PSG edge past Ronaldo-led Saudi All-Stars XI in 9-goal thriller at Riyadh

With both GOATS finding the back of the net in the first half, the special friendly match was turned into an absolute goal-fest by strikes from Marquinhos (43) Sergio Ramos (53) Kylian Mbappe (60 penalty) Hugo Ekitike (78) Jang Hyun-Soo (56) and Anderson Talisca (90+4) at the King Fahd International Stadium.

Ronaldo, who recorded his first outing in oil-rich Saudi, scored a stunning brace before he was substituted in the 61st minute of the contest. Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe were also replaced by PSG in the 62nd minute of the game. Ekitike's first goal which was also PSG's fifth proved to be the difference-maker as the star-studded French side outclassed Ronaldo-led Saudi Arabia All-Star XI in the nine-goal thriller at Riyadh.

Goal machine Ronaldo was named the Player of the Match for his impressive brace against Messi's PSG. After swapping Europe's biggest competition at the club level (UEFA Champions League) for the Asian Champions League, Ronaldo will look forward to making his Saudi league debut for his new club Al Nassr. Ronaldo's Al Nassr side will meet Ettifaq at the King Saud University Stadium on Sunday.

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