Saudi Arabian businessman pays $2.6m to buy VIP ticket to see Ronaldo play Messi


A Saudi Arabian businessman paid $2.6 million to buy a VIP ticket to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi play in a friendly match in Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The match will take place on Thursday at King Fahd Stadium between Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain and a combined side comprising players from Ronaldo’s new club Al Nassr and their Saudi rivals Al Hilal.

A charity auction took place to sell the VIP ticket of the match. The Saudi businessman bid $2.6m at auction. The VIP ticket reportedly provides a series of benefits like clicking pictures with players and access to the respective dressing and locker rooms.

Turki Al-Sheikh, an adviser at the Royal Court and head of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, announced the auction for a VIP ticket entitled “Beyond Imagination” to promote Thursday’s friendly. The auction closed on Tuesday night.

Read | Saudi Arabia calls for stronger action against Houthi militia over the Yemen conflict

Al Sheikh announced that a winning bid of 10 million Saudi riyals ($2.6 million) had come from a real-estate Saudi entrepreneur Mushref Al Ghamdi. He wrote on Twitter, “Congratulations, you deserve it, and may God reward you with good.”

Thursday’s friendly will be Ronaldo’s first match in Saudi Arabia since last month signing for the club Al Nassr. Ronaldo is also scheduled to make his Saudi Pro League debut for Al Nassr on Sunday.

Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Al Nassr for an estimated cost of $200m per year. Earlier this month, Al Nassr FC wrote on Twitter, “History in the making. Welcome, Cristiano to your new home AlNassrFC.” Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal also congratulated Ronaldo.

Ronaldo left the British club Manchester United over disputes with the officials. Later on, he decided to sign a contract with Al Nassr.



Raven Ruma is a professional journalist with a keen eye on domestic and foreign situations. His favorite pastime is to keep the public informed about the current situation through his pen and he is fulfilling this responsibility through the platform of Arab News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.