The celebrated rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has been dominating the football scene for more than a decade, and the world on Thursday (January 19) will get the chance to see another contest between the Portuguese and Argentine.
The Portuguese forward-led Saudi all-star team, comprising players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal clubs, will clash with Paris Saint Germain in an exhibition match at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.
Tickets are sold out for the highly anticipated showdown. And to top it all, today, officials announced that a Saudi real estate businessman won a ticket to see the game after bidding a whopping 10 million riyals (Dh9.78 million) at auction.
But fret not, as you don’t have to shell out millions to watch the legends. Here’s how you can tune in to this exciting fixture.
Date and kickoff time
Thursday, January 19, 2023
Kickoff time: 9pm UAE (8pm Saudi Arabia)
How to watch
BeIN Sports Network holds the rights to show the game live across their channels worldwide.
Their free-to-air channel and Sports 2 in Arabic will broadcast the live studio coverage before the match at 8pm, while the English coverage will start half an hour later on beIN Sports English 1.
The network will also telecast the match across the Mena region.
Live coverage begins on the beIN Sports free-to-air channel and beIN Sports 2 in Arabic from 8pm UAE time, while English coverage starts at 8.30pm on beIN Sports English 1.
PSG will also livestream the game on the club website, as it is part of their annual Middle East tour. Match commentary will be in three languages (English, French and Mandarin) based on choice and location.
Prices for the PSG Riyadh game live broadcast event start at 1.99 euro.
PSG: The exhibition game will also feature other key players from the team such as Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and Neymar, while Saudi internationals Salem Al-Dawsari, who scored in the shock group-stage win over Argentina, and Saud Abdulhamid will play too.
Al Nassr: The Saudi squad from the Al Nassr club playing against the French side include Amin Bukhari, Abdulelah Al-Amri, Ali Lajami, Abdullah Madu, Sultan Al-Ghannam, Luiz Gustavo, Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Sami Al-Naji, Talisca, Pity Martínez and Ronaldo.
Al Hilal: As for the Al Hilal side, the list of players includes Mohammed Al-Owais, Saud Abdulhamid, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Jang Hyun-soo, Khalifah Al-Dawsari, Abdullah Otayf, Mohammed Kanno, André Carrillo, Matheus Pereira, Salem Al-Dawsari and Moussa Marega.
The Saudi Riyadh Season select team will be led by Argentinian coach Marcelo Gallardo in an exhibition match against French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
A Saudi real estate mogul has won a ticket to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi face off in a friendly after bidding $2.6m at auction, an official said.
The match on Thursday in Riyadh is set to pit Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain against a select side made up of players from Ronaldo’s new club Al Nassr and their Saudi rivals Al Hilal.
It will mark the first time Ronaldo has played any football in the kingdom since signing a contract with Al Nassr that runs until 2025 and is worth more than 200 million euros ($214m), according to sources close to the club.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is scheduled to make his Saudi Pro League debut for Al Nassr on Sunday.
To promote Thursday’s friendly, Turki al-Sheikh, an adviser at the Royal Court and head of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, announced a charity auction for a special ticket that would come with perks like photo opportunities with players and access to the locker rooms.
Bidding started at 1 million Saudi riyals ($266,000) and the auction closed at 11:30pm (20:30 GMT) on Tuesday.
Al-Sheikh then announced on Twitter the winning bid of 10 million riyals ($2.6m) had come from Mushref al-Ghamdi.
“Congratulations, you deserve it, and may God reward you with good,” Sheikh said.
The proceeds from the auction are due to go to the national charity campaign known as Ehsan.
Besides Messi, the PSG players expected to play on Thursday include France striker Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi, who last year in Qatar helped make Morocco the first Arab and African team to reach the World Cup semifinals.