For over a decade, the two greatest players of the sport have graced the biggest stages in fierce rivalry and they did that one last time this Thursday in a friendly match.
PSG played a Riyadh all star team containing players from Al Hilal and Al Nasser in a goal frenzy friendly match that is likely to see superstars Ronaldo and Messi face-off for the last time.
The 5-4 match that saw PSG take the lead in the opening minutes. Neymar found Messi’s run into the box where the Argentinian dinked it past the goal keeper.
The Riyadh team didn’t let this setback to deter them for long as they used Ronaldo as a focal point trying long-range shots.
Meanwhile, Neymar missed his chance after dribbling past a few players, and minutes later Mbappe’s run behind the defence though the subsequent goal was ruled offside.
The Riyadh team capitalised on a penalty chance though, after Navas makes a clumsy challenge on Ronaldo. The Portuguese international couldn’t miss from the penalty spot as he sent the ball into the right bin out of the keeper’s reach.
PSG was caught from a counterattack where the cluttered defence consisting of Bernat and Hakimi make last-ditch challenges. As Bernat was the last person in the defence, denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity, he was sent off.
A 10-man PSG still found a way to take the lead as Marqhuinos scored a screamer out of nowhere. Mbappe finds him running to the penalty box and Marqhuionos couldn’t miss from close range.
But this exchange of goals wouldn’t stop here as Ronaldo marked the equaliser with a rebound header.
A cross comes in from the left side and Ronaldo looks to glance the ball past Navas, but the attempt hits the far post. The ball is quickly recovered and sent back to the Portuguese international, and he is able to swivel at the near post and shoot a thunderous effort past Navas to leave things all squared up.
The evenly matched teams continued their rampage in goal in the second half too. PSG would lead for the third time. Man of the match player Mbappe took a moment to assess the situation, picked our Ramos, and got enough of a boot on it to beat Al Owais.
Just minutes after Ramos puts PSG ahead does Al Nassr-Al-Hilal’s Jang answer with an equaliser of his own. The goal is a result of a corner taken from the right side, with Jang completely unmarked inside of the box as he heads the ball easily to the left of Navas.
But the high scoring back and forth would continue as PSG take the lead, again. An errant Al Bulayhi handball inside of the box from a Messi chance means Mbappe can have a chance to convert – which he did calmly.
Messi and Ronaldo were among a slew of players to come off at the 60-minute mark as the game continued without the showpiece sportsmen.
The intensity of the game dropped off for the rest of the half as PSG squandered a chance on goal and Al Nasser does the same.
The penultimate goal came from Ekitike, who was one of the substitutes that came on for PSG. He ensured his side had a comfortable lead with a sublime effort past Al Owais.
In the dying moments of the game a resurgent Riyadh side put a worldie past PSG. Talisca decides that he isn’t quite done out there as he shot a lovely strike from distance to beat Donnaruma’s hopeful dive. But it was too little too late.
While Messi’s team won the nine-goal thriller game, Ronaldo’s two-goal contribution would be a reason to marvel at. Perhaps this is a microcosm of their playing careers: the personal record holder vs the team player.