Footballing behemoths will collide on Thursday when visiting French giants Paris Saint-Germain take on the All-Stars XI from the Saudi Pro League.
The World Cup has just taken place in Qatar but stars like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have jetted off again to the Middle East for a mid-season tour.
There’s also former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who will captain the Saudi side against the Paris outfit. But who will be playing?
The friendly will take place on Thursday 19 January at the King Fahd Stadium. It will be hosted in the Saudi city of Riyadh.
PSG will face the All-Star XI – a mix of players from Saudi sides Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal – on Thursday. PSG are currently touring the Middle East and have strong ties to the region through their owners.
A statement from PSG in early January read: “Paris Saint-Germain will travel to Doha and Riyadh on the 18th and 19th of January. This tour will be an opportunity for the Parisians to meet their Qatari and MENA supporters, train in the iconic Khalifa Stadium and take part in a series of activations organized with the Club’s partners present in Qatar, such as Qatar Airways, ALL, Qatar Tourism, QNB, Ooredoo and Aspetar.
“The team will fly out on January 17th to Doha then travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to play against an all-star XI from Saudi top clubs Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr. The match will be held at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh on January 19th. The team will fly back after the game to Paris.
“This trip to Qatar, following the successful organization of the 2022 FIFA World Cup – is a new opportunity to shine the spotlight on the innovative features of the country’s sports facilities.”
With a Ligue 1 title charge and success in Europe on the line, PSG will be praying they come through this mid-season tour without any major injuries.
Star players Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are in the French side’s travelling squad and all took part in training on Wednesday before the game.
Head coach Christophe Galtier is unlikely to put his star players through too much hard work with so much football still to play in the season, but Messi, Mbappe and Neymar should all get plenty of minutes.
PSG’s schedule has also been altered to ensure they don’t play another competitive game for another ten days, which will help Galtier with fatigue.
However, Nordi Mukiele has a hamstring injury and won’t feature, while midfielder Marco Verratti is expected back in training next week. Lucas Lavallee, who also has a hamstring issue, is the third PSG player who won’t participate in the tour.
Is Cristiano Ronaldo playing?
This may be the final time Cristiano Ronaldo plays against elite level opposition like Messi, Mbappe and Neymar.
It’s been confirmed the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward will captain his combined side in what is his first on-pitch appearance since joining Al Nassr. He has had to wait for his league debut due to a ban he received while at Old Trafford being enforced worldwide.
Ronaldo will be desperate to make a telling impact as he dances with old foe Messi for potentially the final time.
The game will be available to view on the beIN Sports network and on Facebook. PSG have confirmed viewers from the United Kingdom will have to pay £1.99 to watch the game.