Cristiano Ronaldo is remaining calm ahead of his glamour showdown with Lionel Messi – by having an intimate dinner date with partner Georgina Rodriguez.
Ronaldo will step onto the field for the first time since completing his move to Saudi Arabia knowing the whole world will be watching, as he takes on his great rival in a showpiece between Paris Saint-Germain and a Riyadh All-Star XI.
A reason for that was the publicity surrounding his sour exit from Manchester United, with the player damaging his legacy at Old Trafford by airing his grievances in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, which was then followed by being benched for Portugal at the World Cup, too.
But another reason is purely that he is Cristiano Ronaldo – one of the most popular players in history who has taken a step away from the big time of European football for the first time in his career.
Many have commented about Ronaldo’s decision to make the move, and follow the money – signing a record £177million-a-year deal – to Saudi Arabia, especially after his previous comments suggesting that players only move to the Middle East to wrap up their careers when they have lost relevance.
The Portuguese superstar then put his foot in it by mistaking Saudi Arabia for South Africa in his club unveiling.
But CR7 has put that embarrassing gaffe and the whole lot of negativity surrounding his career choice firmly behind him as he gears up for his first appearance in the Middle East nation since joining Al-Nassr.
It appears Ronaldo is just ignoring the public opinion and surrounding himself with his family as he settles into his new life in the Arab state.
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He has posted pictures on social media of him enjoying time together in the Saudi capital Riyadh with his four children and partner.
And Georgina pulled back the curtain on the power couple even further with some intimate snaps of them having dinner together, in what appears to be a stone hut.
Ronaldo will make his debut in Saudi Arabia on Thursday night as he captains the Riyadh All-Star XI against Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain.
The historic rivalry will write its latest chapter as Ronaldo and Messi face off for what could be the final time in a friendly.
It will be the first time the two players have met each other on the pitch in just over two years, with their last meeting coming in December 2020.
PSG will also bring Kylian Mbappe and Neymar with them to play against an XI featuring many stars from Saudi clubs Al Nassr and Al Hilal, including Salem Al-Dawsari, who scored in Saudi Arabia’s shock group-stage win over Argentina at the World Cup in Qatar.
The highly anticipated showdown reportedly had more than two million online ticket requests, and a VIP ticket to watch the match in luxury and also meet both Ronaldo and Messi was purchased by a Saudi businessman for more than £2m at an auction.
Ronaldo is then expected to make his full competitive debut for Al Nassr on Sunday in the Saudi Pro League against Al Ettifaq.