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Cristiano Ronaldo punched by former team-mate in first Saudi Arabia match vs Lionel Messi



Ronaldo felt the full force of the punch

Cristiano Ronaldo picked up an unwanted souvenir from his first match since making his money-spinning Saudi Arabia transfer in the form of a black eye.

The 37-year-old started in attack for a Saudi All-Star XI as they took on Paris Saint-Germain in a friendly in Riyadh, with his long-term rival Lionel Messi lining up for the Ligue 1 giants.

Indeed it was Messi who opened the scoring just three minutes into the match, but as they pressed for equaliser the Saudi side looked to Ronaldo’s world famous heading ability.

However, as a cross was swung into the box the Portuguese didn’t reckon with his former Real Madrid colleague Keylor Navas, whose punch clear also saw him connect with Ronaldo with a fierce thump as he gave away a penalty.

Somewhat dazed, Ronaldo fell to the ground, although he thankfully avoided serious injury.

Ronaldo (right) collides with Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas. PHOTO: AFP

He was soon backup on his feet though to score past Navas from the penalty spot.

PSG, who saw full-back Juan Bernat sent off in the first half, than retook the lead through Marquinhos, only for Ronaldo to beat another former Real team-mate, Sergio Ramos, to a loose ball to slam home the All-Star side’s second equaliser just before half-time.

Despite their one man disadvantage, PSG would run out 5-4 winners thanks to second half goals from Sergio Ramos, Kylian Mbappe (penalty) and Hugo Ekitike.

Speaking after completing the transfer to Al-Nassr two weeks ago, Ronaldo defended the move to Saudi Arabia.

He said: “I feel so proud to make this big decision in my life.


“In Europe, my work is done. I won everything and now this is a new challenge.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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