Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo friendly 16:9Getty

End of an era? Messi & Ronaldo trade goals in late-career clash as PSG win high-scoring friendly over Riyadh All-Star XI

  • Messi scored first in Riyadh
  • Ronaldo answered with two goals of his own
  • Mbappe & Ekitike won it for PSG

TELL ME MORE: In what many believe is the final battle between two of football's greatest ever, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo put on a show in an end-to-end friendly in Riyadh that finished 3-3. While Messi had already got back down to business following his historic World Cup win in December, the pressure was on rival Ronaldo to make an impact, leading the line for an All-Star XI having signed for Al-Nassr in the weeks prior.

And while this wasn't exactly a battle for the ages like their plentiful meetings in both La Liga and the Champions League in the years gone by, it was certainly an eventful one and a contest that bookmarks the end of an era, in many ways. The All-Stars tried their best, but an injury time strike from Anderson Talisca wasn't enough to cancel out earlier goals from Messi, Marquinhos, Sergio Ramos, Kylian Mbappe and Hugo Ekitike as the game finished 5-4.

THE MVP: Messi had the first laugh, but Ronaldo won Man of the Match. Scoring from the penalty spot to get himself off the mark, the 37-year-old's second of the evening was much more impressive. He rattled the post with a sublime header, before reacting first to get on the end of the rebound and bundle it home as he has so often done throughout his career.

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Sure, it was only a friendly, but the crowd went wild for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and understandably so. Al-Nassr fans in particular would've been delighted with what they saw. The old dog still has life in him yet.

THE BIG LOSER: Keylor Navas had a night to forget in the Middle East, in what could be his final game for PSG. He was nowhere near a cross and clattered into Ronaldo to concede the penalty for the first goal, and looked shaky throughout the rest of the game. It's clear to see why Christophe Galtier has instilled Gianluigi Donnarumma as the club's first-choice goalkeeper this season.


LIONEL MESSI PSG 19012023Getty ImagesRonaldo-Cristiano-All-Stars-PSG-22-23Kylian Mbappe PSG All-Stars 2022-23Getty

WHAT NEXT? For Messi and PSG, focus quickly turns to their fight for silverware. They play in the Coupe de France on Monday before returning to Ligue 1 action, with a heavyweight Champions League last-16 clash with Bayern Munich now less than a month away. Meanwhile, all eyes in Saudi Arabia will be on Ronaldo's impending debut for Al-Nassr. Having scored a brace in the friendly against PSG, excitement levels are naturally through the roof.