September 20 – Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain will play a friendly against a Saudi select in the Saudi capital as part of the Riyadh Season Cup.
The high-profile encounter will be PSG’s first-ever visit to the Arab kingdom. No French club has played on Saudi soil and the Parisians will line up against an XI from Al-Hilal SFC and Al-Nassr FC, two of Saudi Arabia’s biggest clubs in a tournament that will be a part of the Riyadh Season, an entertainment festival that attracted millions of visitors in its maiden edition in 2019.
The match was announced on Friday and confirmed by Saudi Press Agency (SPA). It marks a further thawing of relations between the two neighbouring countries after Saudi Arabia led a blockade against Qatar, accusing the Gulf state of embracing “various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region.”
Qatar always denied the allegations, but remained isolated by its neighbours in the Gulf region from 2017 to early 2021.
A decade ago, PSG was acquired by Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) and ever since the club has been driven by a desire to win the Champions League. The owners have spent billions, turning PSG into the dominant force in Ligue 1, but in European competition the club has fallen short. This summer Lionel Messi joined the Parisians from FC Barcelona, an acquisition that should boost PSG’s European dreams.
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