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Cristiano Ronaldo set to captain Saudi XI vs Messi and PSG

"Cristiano Ronaldo" by Jan S0L0 is licensed under CC BY-SA 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.