Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo greeting each other on the field. IMAGO/Power Sport Images
Yesterday in Riyadh, the Paris Saint-Germain football club faced a team composed of players from Al Hilal FC and Al Nassr FC, the two leading clubs of the local championship. A gala match, amplified by the fact that it was perhaps the very last meeting of the two legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The result of the match was almost irrelevant. Last night at Riyadh’s King Fahad Stadium, what was being celebrated was football itself. Organised as part of Riyadh Season, a sort of festival that brings many celebrations to the Saudi capital, the friendly match between Paris Saint-Germain and a team made up of the best players from Al-Nassr FC and Al-Hilal FC lived up to all its promises.
The recipe for a great football night
An avalanche of goals, spectacle, and above all stars on the field. Neymar, Mbappé, and Lionel Messi, who was crowned World Champion a few weeks before, on one side, and Cristiano Ronaldo on the other, for an emotional reunion between the two men. A special aura enveloped this exhibition match, perhaps the last opportunity for football aficionados to see two living legends face each other.
Although PSG narrowly won (5-4), after playing with 10 men for a good part of the match following a red card given to Juan Bernat, we will especially remember the fervour in the stands, and the standing ovation Cristiano Ronaldo, recently transferred to Al-Nassr, received when he left the pitch, around the 60th minute.
A football evening that Saudi Arabia, and indeed the whole of the Middle East, will not soon forget!