Cristiano Ronaldo’s first match in Saudi Arabia set to be against rival Lionel Messi in clash with Paris Saint-Germain

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are set for a reunion in January in what looks set to be the Portuguese star’s first match in Saudi Arabia.

    Ronaldo put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year deal with Saudi outfit Al-Nassr, bringing an end to a glittering career in Europe.

    Cristiano Ronaldo completed his switch to Saudi side Al-Nassr last Friday

    Instagram: Cristiano

    Cristiano Ronaldo completed his switch to Saudi side Al-Nassr last Friday

    The money-spinning switch is set to earn Ronaldo around £177 million-a-year in a move that Al-Nassr described as ‘history in the making’.

    While some have been left bemused by Ronaldo’s choice to leave Europe, the move may present him with one final showdown with Messi later this month.

    Paris Saint-Germain are set to travel to Saudi Arabia in January to take part in a mid-season friendly against a combined eleven from Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal – billed as the Riyadh Season Cup.

    It was originally slated to take place in January 2022 but was postponed for Covid-related reasons.

    Now it’s poised to take place in on January 19, 2023, and that could set up another encounter between Messi vs Ronaldo, which would likely be the last instalment of their incredible rivalry.

    Ronaldo is yet to make his debut for Al Nassr, as he must serve a two-match suspension following an FA ban for knocking a phone out of a fan’s hand.

    World Cup winner Lionel Messi could face off against Ronaldo later this month

    Getty

    World Cup winner Lionel Messi could face off against Ronaldo later this month

    He has served one of those matches and manager Rudi Garcia confirmed the second will be the upcoming fixture against Al Shabab.

    Ronaldo is poised to make his Al Nassr debut against Ettifaq on January 22 – but Garcia expects Ronaldo to play against PSG three days earlier in a combined Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal XI,

    “It [his debut] won’t be with the Al Nassr jersey,” Garcia was quoted as saying by L’Équipe.

    “It will be a mix between Al Hilal and Al Nassr. As the coach of Al Nassr, I cannot be happy with this match.

    “For development, to see PSG, to see the great Parisian players, indeed it is a good thing. But we have a championship game three days later.

    “In terms of scheduling, it could have been better thought out. But it’s not a big deal … We are in the lead, we are happy. It is a difficult championship to win, but we intend to do it.”

    Ronaldo having to wait to make his debut for his new club

    AFP

    Ronaldo having to wait to make his debut for his new club

    Messi has just arrived back at Paris Saint-Germain following last month’s World Cup success.

    The Argentine is not set to return to action until mid-January and Galtier could use the friendly as a tune-up game before unleashing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner ahead of next month’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

    The game would be sure to attract plenty of attention from fans around the world and will inevitably spark the age-old comparisons of who is the superior player.

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