Following his selection as captain of the Riyadh ST XI for an exhibition game against Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain, Cristiano Ronaldo will play in Saudi Arabia for the first time since joining Al Nassr, according to officials.
The 37-year-old will captain the team against Messi’s PSG in the most recent installment of the storied rivalry, which features players from the Saudi clubs Al Hilal and Al Nassr. According to sources speaking to ESPN, Ronaldo will play 45 minutes. This choice was made in consultation with Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia so that the player could gain experience before making his club debut on Sunday.
Salem Al-Dawsari, a Saudi international who scored in the unexpected victory over Argentina in the group stage, is also listed in the lineup.
On Thursday in Riyadh, the eagerly awaited showdown that reportedly garnered more than 2 million online ticket requests will take place.
In an auction that is scheduled to expire on Tuesday, the price for a VIP “Beyond Imagination” ticket to the game has already surpassed $2.66 million.
Ronaldo missed the opening two domestic matches for Al Nassr after receiving a one-match ban from the English Football Association for kicking a fan’s phone in April.
The Portuguese forward signed a contract with Al Nassr earlier this month that is believed to be worth more than $216.34 million and is valid until 2025.
Ronaldo will face Al Ettifaq on Sunday in his first competitive Saudi Pro League match for Al Nassr.