PSG 5-4 Saudi All-Star XI: Messi and Mbappe edge Cristiano Ronaldo
PSG enjoyed a warm mid-season tour around Qatar and Saudi Arabia in which they played and defeated 5-4 a team full of Saudi League superstars captained by Cristiano Ronaldo and coached by Marcelo Gallardo on Thursday, Jan. 19.
Not even playing on an All-Star team could Cristiano Ronaldo defeat a walking PSG that took the game for what it was: a (5-4) farce. Even then, the Parisian and the Saudi did what they must, arrived at the King Fahd Stadium in time, let both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo score their agreed-upon goals, and went back home happy and with €10-15M in their pockets.
A lot of digital ink was poured over the internet covering this game. I have to acknowledge I was the first to fall for it. But it was my duty to report on this game providing you with all of the pre-match detail, as well as it is now for me to hand you a proper recap. Whatever that means.
One day after Internazionale lifted the Italian Supercoppa in the same venue and on a Thursday that saw Barcelona drop five goals in their Copa del Rey game and Real Madrid pull off a 3-2 come-from-behind victory in theirs, PSG staged and played a meaningless friendly in the Middle East.
It took Messi just three minutes to fulfill PSG's part of the contract, hitting one past the Saudi keeper trying to block a bunch of shots on the most pleasing game he's probably ever played.
Messi, Ronaldo, and Mbappe scored at least one goal each while Neymar missed a penalty kick
Cristiano Ronaldo (how surprising!) was the man tasked with taking and scoring a (non-existent) penalty for his first goal of the game as the clock hit 34. He would double his tally on the verge of halftime after Neymar (how surprising!) missed a penalty.
Marquinhos had scored in the 43rd minute but nobody really cared about him. The same goes for Sergio Ramos hitting one himself assisted by Kylian Mbappe, or the very own Mbappe scoring another (yikes) penalty in the 60th minute right before exiting the pitch (what a coincidence that was).
Jang Hyun-Soo (56th), Hugo Ekitike (78th), and Anderson Talisca (94th) were the men adding their names to the Fake Friendly Games history books on a fancy Thursday night that even featured a trophy ceremony. Seriously.
Juan Bernat was perhaps the Man of the Match, finding a way to get a straight red card in the 39th minute from preventing a threatening run up the pitch by the Saudi All-Stars. Odds are they would have ended up missing the shot, misfiring, and whatnot, but kudos to Bernat for achieving what no one would have ever bet on. Eat that, KSA (maybe) said Qatar.
The PSG lads are already back in Paris and getting ready for some more important things going forward, starting next Monday, Jan. 23 with a game against Pays de Cassel for a place in the French Cup Round of 16 if they get a rather expected victory.