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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Mark Jones

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

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 felt the full force of the punch (PSG YouTube)

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.

Ronaldo was caught by Navas' flying arm in the first half (PSG YouTube)

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.

"I'm grateful Al Nassr have given me this opportunity, not only for the football but for the young generation and the female generation.

"For me, this is a challenge but I feel very happy and very proud.

"I had many opportunities in Europe, in Brazil, in Australia, in the US and even in Portugal many clubs tried to sign me, but I gave my word to this club.

"This is a good chance to grow many important points here with my knowledge and my experience.

"I'm a unique player. I beat all the records in Europe. I want to beat a few records here.

"This contract is unique but I'm a unique player, so for me it's normal. I really don't worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here.

"I know the league is very competitive, I saw many games. I hope to play after (Wednesday) if the coach thinks there's a chance. I'm ready to keep playing football."

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