‘Happy to be back’, Ronaldo says after exhibition match

Cristiano Ronaldo of Al Nassr has expressed his delight after making his debut in a Saudi all-star exhibition match against Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday.Information Guide Nigeria

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who took to social media to express his excitement about playing competitively again, said he was glad to be back on the pitch and even happier to have scored in the 5-4 thriller. He was also named Man of the Match for the game.

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Ronaldo captioned a photo of himself hugging long-time rival Lionel Messi from the game, “So happy to be back on the pitch, and on the scoresheet!!” And it’s great to see some old friends!”

The PUNCH reported on Thursday night that Ronaldo, Messi, and Kylian Mbappe all scored in an exhibition match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with PSG winning by just one goal.JAMB portal

Ronaldo scored a brace for his Sauid-led team after recovering from a punch in the face.

Ronaldo, 37, was decked by PSG keeper Keylor Navas’ flailing fist, but he drilled the resulting penalty and then added another in a 5-4 exhibition defeat, his first appearance since moving to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth more than 400 million euros.

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Messi and Kylian Mbappe scored for Qatar-owned PSG, and Neymar missed a penalty, before withdrawing on the hour mark alongside Ronaldo, who was representing a composite Saudi side, leaving the world’s four highest-paid players watching from the bench in Riyadh.

Hundreds of millions of euros worth of footballers were on display in the Saudi capital for the exhibition game, which comes just weeks after neighbouring Qatar lavishly spent on the first World Cup on Arab soil, which Argentina won.NYSC portal

A Saudi real estate mogul paid $2.6 million at auction for a ticket giving him access to the players’ dressing room at the 69,000-seat King Fahd Stadium.

Ronaldo joined the Saudi Arabian club on a two-year contract worth €200 million per year with commercial benefits.

The Portugal captain was a free agent after leaving Manchester United following a contentious interview in which he heavily criticised the club.

The signing of the former Real Madrid star was described as “history in the making” by Al Nassr, the nine-time Saudi Pro League champions.

The PUNCH reported earlier in January that Ronaldo’s debut had been delayed because the English Football Association imposed a two-match ban on him even after he had left Europe.

The ban followed an FA investigation after Ronaldo knocked a phone out of a fan’s hand following Manchester United’s defeat at Everton in April 2022, delaying Ronaldo’s much-anticipated debut.JAMB Result

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Emediong Ekpe

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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