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Saudi billionaire spends $2.6m for Messi-Ronaldo friendly ticket

According to an official, a Saudi real estate tycoon paid $2.6 million at auction for a ticket to witness Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi play in a friendly.

Messi’s PSG will face a team comprised of players from Ronaldo’s new club Al Nassr and their Saudi rivals Al Hilal on Thursday in Riyadh.

The match will be Ronaldo’s first in the kingdom after signing a deal with Al Nassr, which reportedly spans through 2025 and is worth more than 200 million euros ($214m).

This coming Sunday, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will make his Saudi Pro League debut with Al Nassr.

An advisor to the Royal Court and the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, Turki al-Sheikh, has launched a charity auction for an unique ticket to Thursday’s friendly, which includes meet-and-greets with the players and access to the locker rooms.

The auction began at 1,000,000 Saudi Riyals ($266,000) and ended at 11:30PM (20:30 GMT) on Tuesday.

Then, Al-Sheikh tweeted that Mushref al-Ghamdi had submitted the winning offer of 10 million riyals ($2.6m).

You earned it, so congrats, and may God shower blessings upon you, Sheikh remarked.

The auction is meant to benefit the Ehsan national charity drive.

The other PSG players set to participate on Thursday are Messi, French forwards Kylian Mbappe, and Achraf Hakimi, who last year in Qatar helped Morocco become the first Arab and African nation to reach the World Cup quarterfinals.

Salem al-Dawsari, who scored the game-winning goal for the Green Falcons in their surprising round of 16 triumph against Argentina, is a member of the Saudi national team.

Turki Al-Sheikh, the president of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, has announced a fundraising initiative, and one component of it is a VIP ticket. To a charitable organisation, namely the Ehsan fund in Saudi Arabia.

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