A Saudi real estate mogul has won a ticket to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi face off in a friendly after bidding $2.6m at auction, an official said.
The match will take place on Thursday, January 19, in Riyadh. Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain will play against a select side made up of players from Ronaldo’s new club Al Nassr and their Saudi rivals Al Hilal.
It will mark the first time Ronaldo has played any football in the kingdom since signing a contract with Al Nassr that runs until 2025 and is worth more than 200 million euros ($214m), according to sources close to the club.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is scheduled to make his Saudi Pro League debut for Al Nassr on Sunday.
To promote Thursday’s friendly, Turki al-Sheikh, an adviser at the Royal Court and head of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, announced a charity auction for a special ticket that would come with perks like photo opportunities with players and access to the locker rooms.
Bidding started at 1 million Saudi riyals ($266,000) and the auction closed at 11:30pm (20:30 GMT) on Tuesday.
Al-Sheikh has now announced on Twitter the winning bid of 10 million riyals ($2.6m) had come from Mushref al-Ghamdi.
“Congratulations, you deserve it, and may God reward you with good,” Sheikh said.
The proceeds from the auction are due to go to the national charity campaign known as Ehsan.