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Cristiano Ronaldo set to captain Saudi XI vs Messi and PSG

Ronaldo at Juventus
"Atlético Madrid - Juventus 2-1" by greger.ravik is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Portugal captain is expected to play his first game in Saudi Arabia against an old foe.

Cristiano Ronaldo will captain the Riyadh ST XI in a friendly against Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain.

The exhibition match will take place at the King Fahd Stadium on Thursday evening. It’s uncertain if Messi will play, but Ronaldo is most definitely on. The forward will lead a team of players from Saudi clubs Al Hilal and Al Nassr, which includes Salem Al-Dawsari – the winger who scored in Saudi Arabia’s 2-1 win over Argentina in last year’s World Cup.

According to Reuters, bidding for a VIP ‘Beyond Imagination’ ticket to attend the game has exceeded 10 million riyals ($2.66 million). The auction will end on Tuesday.

For Ronaldo, Thursday’s friendly will mark his first game in Saudi Arabia since joining Al Nassr. The 37-year-old missed the club’s last two league games due to a suspension from the English Football Association for slapping a phone out of a fan’s hand during a Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United in April.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner could make his Al Nassr debut on Sunday in a Saudi Pro League match against Al Ettifaq.