Reports - 2 PSG first-team stars ruled out of match to face Cristiano Ronaldo's Saudi Arabia All-Stars

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are set to be without Marco Verratti and Nordi Mukiele for their friendly against Riyadh XI, a Saudi Arabian All-Star team featuring Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Parisians announced the news on Tuesday, January 17 (via GOAL), just two days before their upcoming clash. Italian midfielder Verratti is yet to recover from a right quadricep injury, though he is expected to return to training next week. Right-back Mukiele, meanwhile, has a hamstring issue and will undergo tests on the same in a few days.

Apart from the duo, however, PSG are expected to have most of their superstars available for the friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. The match will take place at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.

Verratti has notably missed each of the Parisians’ last three matches across Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France. He was a key player for the team prior to that, making 22 appearances in all competitions and laying out one assist.

Mukiele, meanwhile, has been everpresent for Christophe Galtier’s side since the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, he was substituted with an injury just 11 minutes into the second half of the Parisians’ last match, a 1-0 league defeat away to Stade Rennes on January 15.

Overall, the Frenchman has also played 22 times for his club across competitions this season, laying out three assists.

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Riyadh XI against PSG on January 19

While PSG will be without two quality players in Marco Verratti and Nordi Mukiele, they will still be overwhelming favorites to beat Riyadh XI on Thursday. The Parisians will, however, have to keep Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr this month, quiet.

Thursday’s match will be the Portuguese superstar’s first since making the big-money move to the Middle East. Ronaldo will reportedly lead Riyadh XI in the match as per a video posted by Turki Al-Sheikh, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s general authority for entertainment, on Twitter.

The all-time goalscorer in men’s international football notably has an excellent record against PSG. He scored thrice and assisted once in four UEFA Champions League matches against the French giants.

Cristiano Ronaldo has also never lost against the Parisians (three wins and one draw).

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