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Ronaldo vs Messi in Riyadh: G.O.A.T. debate reignited ahead of Saudi All-Star XI vs PSG friendly

The stage is set for the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi encounter when a combined XI of Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal stars will face Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in a friendly exhibition on January 19 in Riyadh.

football Ronaldo vs Messi in Riyadh: G.O.A.T. debate reignited ahead of Saudi All-Star XI vs PSG friendly snt
First Published Jan 18, 2023, 4:53 PM IST

Football lovers will witness one of the greatest rivalries between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for perhaps one last time on January 19. The two giants of the sport will face each other when the Portuguese talisman leads a combined XI of Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal stars, called Riyadh XI, against the star-studded Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the King Fahd Stadium.

Also read: Ronaldo vs Messi in Saudi Arabia: Date, time, venue, tickets, where to watch in India and more

Apart from the presence of Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and other PSG stars in Riyadh for the friendly exhibition, Ronaldo's high-profile debut on Saudi Arabian soil has added to the excitement. The former Manchester United star is yet to debut for his new team Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League due to a pending 2-match FA ban over the infamous incident at Everton last season. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner will be seen in the league on January 22 when his team takes on Al-Ettifaq.

However, it is the Ronaldo vs Messi encounter once again that has hit the headlines recently. The Ronaldo vs Messi rivalry has generated some memorable matchups, including the 2009 Champions League final, where the former Barcelona legend scored what he considers his best goal ever. There is also the 5-0, the fantastic goal in the 2010 Champions League semifinals, the well-known comeback win and celebration at the Bernabeu, and so forth.

The last time the former Juventus striker and Barcelona great faced off was on December 8, 2020, during their Champions League Group G stage match at Camp Nou. This match is the one that fans of the two icons will remember. 

Juventus easily defeated Barcelona 3-0 in a match in which Ronaldo scored two penalties, one before halftime and the other after. Weston McKennie added the third. In their matchup with the Italian powerhouses, Barcelona had seven shots on goal, all of which the famous Gianluigi Buffon stopped. With 125 touches, Messi had every single one and was active throughout the game. Nevertheless, he was ultimately defeated in a battle in which Ronaldo only received 51 touches.

Messi outperformed Ronaldo and was arguably the greatest player on the field in the 2020 clash. But history remembers the winners, and it will be interesting to see what transpires if the two legends face each other on Saudi Arabian soil. Will Ronaldo fans witness a 'Siuuu' celebration on January 19, or will Messi supporters see the PSG star continue his dream run - only time will tell.

Also read: Messi and Mbappe return to Qatar one month after epic World Cup final for PSG's winter tour

As fans await to see what transpires during Thursday's Saudi All-Star XI vs PSG, Ronaldo and Messi lovers have reignited the G.O.A.T. debate, a month after the PSG star's fans claimed the discussion was settled given the Argentinean lifted the World Cup 2022.

"One month ago, the G.O.A.T. ended the debate, and today he lands back in Qatar. Messi Vs Ronaldo one last dance head-to-head this week," said one fan of the PSG star, while another added, "The GOAT is Messi, then there comes the rest."

"Life is so peaceful now that the Messi Vs Ronaldo debate has been put to bed (way overdue) Even more peaceful knowing it's only the likes of Piers Morgan trying to keep it/themselves relevant. Relaxing knowing my GOAT has a World Cup & their GOAT is washed up in Saudi Arabia," added a third Messi fan.

Meanwhile, a CR7 fan wrote, "Ronaldo vs Messi is happening y'all on this Thursday and it will settle down the GOAT debate. 
We all know the GOAT is Ronaldo but let's give kid Messi a chance bro."

"If this WC wasn't rigged, then Ronaldo is GOAT," said another fan of the Portuguese talisman, while a third added, "Messi's biggest achievement is to be compare to the GOAT. Records speaks for Ronaldo."

Here's a look at what football enthusiasts have to say ahead of the Ronaldo vs Messi clash during the Saudi All-Star XI vs PSG friendly on Thursday:

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