Cristiano Ronaldo debut vs PSG: CR7 scores two goals in friendly vs Messi, Mbappe in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo’s first match in Saudi Arabia after his big-money move to Al Nassr didn’t disappoint.

Playing against French giants PSG and long-time rival Lionel Messi, Ronaldo featured heavily for an All-Stars team consisting of players from both Al Nassr and Al Hilal. 

Despite not playing since Portugal’s World Cup exit late last year, the 37-year-old showed little rust in an exhibition match that lived up to the hype. 

While his makeshift team fell short in a whirlwind 5-4 defeat, Ronaldo did his bit to give his side a fighting chance and showed why his stint in Saudi Arabia will be well worth keeping an eye on. 

MORE: Ronaldo vs Messi head-to-head history

Ronaldo’s debut performance and highlights

After seeing Messi open the scoring for PSG inside three minutes, Ronaldo was the man that got the All-Stars going in Riyadh. 

The Portuguese forward leaped high for a cross after half an hour and was collected by PSG goalkeeper and former teammate Keylor Navas in the process. A penalty was rightly awarded with Ronaldo shaking off his shiner to tuck home the penalty in typically clinical fashion and unleash his trademark ‘Siu’ celebration for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

HIGHLIGHT: Watch Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in USA & Canada | Watch in UK | Watch in Australia

A lively presence in the final third throughout the match courtesy of his still blistering speed and trickery on the ball, Ronaldo continued to ask questions of PSG’s defence and bagged a second goal just before halftime. 

After his strong header struck the far post and Sergio Ramos failed to clear the danger, it was the former Manchester United attacker that reacted quickest to ruthlessly fire the ball home.

HIGHLIGHT: Watch Cristiano Ronaldo 2nd goal in USA & Canada | Watch in UK | Watch in Australia

Finally, Ronaldo showed off a silky bit of skill to nutmeg Carlos Soler and leave the Spaniard scratching his head.

Ronaldo wouldn’t be given enough time to complete a hat-trick, substituted in the 61st minute, but he did have enough time to show off the bump he got from the aerial challenge with Navas to PSG star Kylian Mbappe. The two superstars have struck up somewhat of a friendship with Mbappe previously admitting Ronaldo was his idol growing up. 

There was also a fitting embrace just before kickoff as Ronaldo and Messi shared a quick hug in what could have been their last time playing against each other. 

Ronaldo’s first appearance in Saudi Arabia ended with him collecting an inevitable Man of the Match award. While not the only player to impress in the game, it was a promising all-round performance from the 37-year-old looking to justify his record-breaking new contract. 

Ronaldo’s debut stats

  • 2 goals
  • 61 minutes played
  • 1 penalty won
  • 1 “SIU” celebration
  • 1 Messi hug
  • 1 MOTM award

MORE: How much is Ronaldo being paid in Saudi Arabia?

What’s next for Ronaldo?

Though he’s made his debut in Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo’s next match will see him finally play his first game for new club Al Nassr. 

After missing two games through suspension, the Portugal star is expected to start when Rudi Garcia’s side host Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League on Sunday. 

A recent 0-0 draw with Al Shabab has seen Al Nassr drop to second in the league, but only by a point and with a game in hand over current leaders Al Ittihad. 

Ettifaq are currently 10th in the Saudi Pro League, winning just four of their first 13 games this season, so Ronaldo could be poised for a fairytale start with Al Nassr. 

After making his league debut, Ronaldo will then have just four days to recover before Al Nassr take on Al Ittihad in a blockbuster Saudi Super Cup semi-final. 

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