Riyadh All-Stars game with PSG showcases Saudi football – as the world gets set for Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi Pro League debut on Sunday
- Portuguese star captained All-Stars XI against PSG ahead of Roshn Saudi League debut for Al Nassr on Sunday versus Ettifaq at Mrsool Park
- Riyadh Season Cup match, which saw All-Stars XI go down 5-4 to PSG, may be the final encounter between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – who both scored in epic clash
RIYADH, 19 JANUARY 2023: The Saudi Pro League was delighted to see its players line-up in an All-Stars XI for the Riyadh Season Cup clash with Paris Saint-Germain at the King Fahd International Stadium on Thursday night.
The 68,000-sell-out crowd – with millions more across the globe watching on TV – witnessed what may have been the final match between two icons of the game: Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr’s new signing, and PSG’s Lionel Messi.
Featuring Saudi Pro League players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal, the All-Stars put in a battling performance to go in 2-2 at half-time before eventually going down 5-4 to PSG. The incredible drama in Riyadh included Messi opening the scoring, a double for Ronaldo, a red card for PSG’s Juan Bernat, and Neymar seeing a penalty saved by Mohammed Al Owais.
It was the perfect introduction to Saudi football for Ronaldo, as fans got a glimpse of what is to come ahead of his sold-out Al Nassr debut in the league versus Ettifaq on Sunday, January 22. The hugely anticipated match at Mrsool Park kicks off at 8:30pm.
Saudi Pro League chairman AdbulAziz Alafaleq said: “The Saudi Pro League was delighted to provide players for the Riyadh Season Cup match. Players from our league relished the opportunity to pit their talents against some of the best players in the world, such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Achraf Hakimi, and, of course, Lionel Messi. Backed by an incredibly passionate crowd at the King Fahd International Stadium, the Saudi Pro League players truly put in a performance to be proud of that showcased the strength of Saudi football.”
The match follows Saudi Arabia’s impressive efforts at the recent World Cup, including that famous victory over Argentina where the national team was represented exclusively by talent from the Saudi Pro League. This was further added to by the passionate support of Saudi fans at the tournament, who played a big part in showing the love they have for the game.
Alafaleq added: “The sell-out attendance on Thursday night and Cristiano Ronaldo’s much-awaited league debut on Sunday is indicative of the huge passion Saudi fans have for football. We have no doubt the eyes of the football world will be firmly on the Saudi Pro League and Mrsool Park on Sunday night.”
Saudi Pro League players participating in the match squad with PSG included:
From Al Nassr: Amin Bukhari, Abdulelah Al Amri, Ali Lajami, Abdullah Madu, Ghislain Konan, Sultan Al Ghannam, Luiz Gustavo, Abdullah Al Khaibari, Sami Al Najei, Talisca, Pity Martinez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
From Al Hilal: Mohammed Al Owais, Saud Abdulhamid, Ali Al Bulaihi, Jang Hyun-soo, Khalifah Al Dawsari, Musab Al Juwayr, Abdullah Otayf, Mohamed Kanno, Andre Carrillo, Gustavo Cuellar, Matheus Pereira, Salem Al Dawsari, Odion Ighalo and Moussa Marega.
The select team was led by Argentinian legend and former PSG player Marcelo Gallardo, who most recently managed River Plate in his home country.
The match follows a week where Riyadh hosted both the Spanish and Italian Super Cups. The total attendances of the five matches – Real Madrid v Valencia, Barcelona v Real Betis, Real Madrid v Barcelona, Inter Milan v AC Milan, and the All-Stars XI v PSG – held at the King Fahd International Stadium came to an incredible 277,000 fans.