Lionel Messi made the dream start to what could be his final game against Cristiano Ronaldo.
If you thought that Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr meant that he’d never face his eternal rival again, then you’d be wrong, because a happy twist of fate has reunited the two legends once more.
It’s only the second time that the Ballon d’Or-winning pair have shared the pitch since Ronaldo waved goodbye to Real Madrid in 2018 – and it’s come under unusual circumstances.
But try telling that to Messi because he wasted no time at all in ensuring that he left his mark on what could well be the final ever clash between two of the greatest male athletes in history.
That’s because Messi remarkably found the back of the net within just two minutes, finishing off great combination play from Kylian Mbappe and Neymar with a deft finish past the ‘keeper.
Video: Messi opens the scoring in all-star clash vs Ronaldo
It just HAD to be…🙌
Neymar, Mbappe and Messi all combine as the Argentine opens for the scoring for PSG! ✨pic.twitter.com/sDHSscQHwr
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) January 19, 2023
You just knew that was destined for the back of the net.
It might not have been a slaloming run past seven players or a dramatic bicycle kick, but there’s no denying that it was still the perfect way for Messi to open up such a lucrative game.
What happened in Messi vs Ronaldo’s all-star game?
And with PSG fielding such a formidable line-up featuring the likes of Sergio Ramos and Achraf Hakimi, the combined Saudi XI were always going to have their backs against the wall.
In fact just as serious as Christophe Galtier’s starting XI were the conditions of the game itself in what is fast proving to be one of the most serious friendly games that we’ve ever seen.
From Messi being denied a sumptuous assist courtesy of VAR and Juan Bernat actually picking up a red card, it’s fair to say that the game was being taken very seriously by its organisers.
And they’ll certainly feel like they got what they asked for with Ronaldo then joining Messi on the scoresheet before half-time, keeping his composure to lash home a convincing penalty.
Oh, and he also had time to produce a filthy nutmeg along the way.
So, while it might not have been a Champions League night or El Clasico encounter to appropriately round off the Messi vs Ronaldo legacy, make no mistake that there’s still been plenty of GOAT-befitting drama out in Riyadh. Can they play each other every week?