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Five things we noticed in PSG vs Saudi All-Stars match, it had absolutely everything

James Aldred

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Five things we noticed in PSG vs Saudi All-Stars match, it had absolutely everything

It was one of the biggest and most chaotic friendlies of all time.

Lionel Messi's PSG versus Cristiano Ronaldo's Riyadh All-Star XI was watched by millions around the world and was packed with drama from the first whistle to the last.

Within minutes, Messi made his mark in the contest, slipping the ball beneath the All-Stars' keeper Mohammed Al Owais.

It was a trademark, tidy finish from the Argentine which suggested an easy night for PSG could be on the cards.

But that wasn't to be.

After keeper Keylor Navas clattered Ronaldo in the air, the referee pointed to the spot, giving the Portuguese superstar the chance to draw the game level with half-time looming.

He did just that, firing emphatically past his former teammate to bring the Saudi side level.

Ronaldo's strike clearly rattled the Parisians, with left back Juan Bernat shown a red card after bringing down the onrushing Salem Al Dawsari just five minutes later.

The French giants didn't let that affect them too much though, with the ever-reliable Marquinhos clipping the ball home from close range, to give PSG the lead once again.

It could and should have been 3-1 when they were awarded a penalty a few moments later.

But Neymar, often so assured from the spot, misfired, something Ronaldo would make him rue a few minutes later.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were all on the scoresheet for PSG. (Credit: PA Images)
Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were all on the scoresheet for PSG. (Credit: PA Images)

The latter's powerful, close range effort in added time at the end of the first half was too hot for Navas to handle, meaning we entered half time level at 2-2.

You might have expected things to have quietened down in the second half.

But they didn't, with both teams unrelenting in their efforts to get one over the other.

Sergio Ramos made the first contribution of the second half, stroking the ball home after a great assist from Mbappe.

This was cancelled out by All Stars' defender Hyeon Soo jang, who finished off a superb set piece to bring the home crowd to life once more.

However, a composed penalty from Mbappe and outrageous finish from Hugo Ekitike took the game away from them and despite Anderson Talisca's late consolation, it finished 5-4 to the Parisians.

Missed any of that? Well, in case you have, here are five things which caught our eye from that remarkable friendly.

Both players have still got it

Tonight's match proves that both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can still compete at the highest level.

The pair showed flashes of real quality throughout and the composure that sets them apart from the rest.

They are the beating hearts of their sides and have got so much to offer us this season and in the years ahead.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his old foe Lionel Messi were reunited on Thursday evening. (Credit: Alamy)
Cristiano Ronaldo and his old foe Lionel Messi were reunited on Thursday evening. (Credit: Alamy)

We can't wait to see what they do next.

There's no such thing as a friendly

Friendlies are meant to be just that.

But tonight was far from that. The game had an intensity and an aggression that we haven't seen in a long time.

But with half time approaching, PSG's Juan Bernat went a bit too far, taking down Salem Al Dawsari as he looked to cross the halfway line.

The defender was given a straight red card, something that we rarely see in these kinds of matches.

Football in the Middle East is on the up

We were told that the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar would revolutionise football in The Middle East.

And tonight's match suggests that revolution is underway.

Not only did the Riyadh All-Star XI put up an incredible fight, the atmosphere at the King Fahd Stadium was absolutely electric and shows just how invested that side of the world is in the beautiful game.

Mbappé HAS to be PSG's penalty taker

The World Cup final proved that under pressure, Kylian Mbappé is one of the most composed footballers in the world.

Scoring twice from the spot, the Frenchman brought his country back from the very brink against Argentina and tonight, he did the same for PSG.

His successful penalty was the complete opposite to Neymar's tame, untidy effort and emphasised that he has to be PSG's man for those moments moving forwards.

Hugo Ekitike is the future

The 20 year old's been linked with a whole host of clubs this January, including high flying Newcastle.

And you can see why- he's fast, powerful and has got a brilliant finish on him, as seen by his superb goal to make it 5-3 to the visitors.

He has the potential to be one of the most exciting players in Europe over the next decade.

Whether he'll fulfil that at PSG remains to be seen.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports

Topics: Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo

James Aldred
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