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‘Last Dance’: Ronaldo and Messi face each other in Saudi Arabia next year

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Football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are set to face each other one more time in Saudi Arabia in February next year.

The duo recently faced each other on the football pitch earlier in January this year when Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain locked horns with Riyadh All-Stars XI with the former securing a 5-4 victory in the Kingdom.

Many believe that it would mark the final time Messi and Ronaldo shared a pitch as they near the end of their careers on different continents.

Both strikers have dominated international football for more than ten years with Ronaldo winning his first of five Ballon d’Or awards in 2008  Over the next 14 years, he and Messi have shared the prestigious trophy 12 times.

Ronaldo, who plays for Saudi club Al Nassr will face Messi’s Inter Miami in a pre-season friendly match titled “The Last Dance” — a homage to their probable final clash on the football pitch — ahead of the 2024 Major League Soccer season.

Messi, aged 36, made his mark primarily at Barcelona, while Ronaldo, aged 38, reached great heights at fierce rivals Real Madrid after transferring from Manchester United in 2009.

Ideally, their farewell match would have been in the World Cup or Champions League, fitting stages for their stature in the sport. However, the Riyadh Season Cup offers a definitive conclusion to their long-standing rivalry on the field.

Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid in 2009 put them on opposing sides for one of Europe’s major derbies for nine seasons.

Fans endlessly debated who was superior, but Messi’s record eight Ballon d’Ors and Argentina’s 2022 World Cup victory have likely settled that argument.

The upcoming friendly in February will undoubtedly reignite discussions comparing Messi and Ronaldo’s legacies.

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Michael Clarke gears up for commentary stint in PSL 9

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Clarke will be joining a star-studded commentary panel to make his PSL debut on the mike.

With his playing career coming to an end, 42-year-old Clarke has been a busy broadcaster.

In addition to Michael Clarke, other international pundits on the PSL 9 commentary team include the effervescent Ian Bishop, who is renowned for his compelling and perceptive analysis, Danny Morrison, Simon Doull, Pommie Mbangwa, Mark Butcher, Dominic Cork, and Mike Haysman.

Along with Urooj Mumtaz, Sana Mir, and Marina Iqbal, the Pakistani pundits also have an intriguing cast that includes Waqar Younis, Ramiz Raja, Bazid Khan, and Aamir Sohail.

The action will be called in Urdu by Ali Younis and Tariq Saeed. During PSL 9, Erin Holland and Zainab Abbas will be the presenters.

For those who are unaware, Rawalpindi and Karachi will host the remaining matches of the ninth season of the Pakistan Super League, which is now in its second leg.

After 18 games, the Multan Sultans, the 2021 champions, lead the standings with 10 points from six games, closely followed by the Quetta Gladiators, the 2019 champions, in second place with nine points from the same number of games.

Along with Urooj Mumtaz, Sana Mir, and Marina Iqbal, the Pakistani pundits also have an intriguing cast that includes Waqar Younis, Ramiz Raja, Bazid Khan, and Aamir Sohail.

The action will be called in Urdu by Ali Younis and Tariq Saeed. During PSL 9, Erin Holland and Zainab Abbas will be the presenters.

For those who are unaware, Rawalpindi and Karachi will host the remaining matches of the ninth season of the Pakistan Super League, which is now in its second leg.

After 18 games, the Multan Sultans, the 2021 champions, lead the standings with 10 points from six games, closely followed by the Quetta Gladiators, the 2019 champions, in second place with nine points from the same number of games.

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Leus du Plooy asserts, “There is a lot of talent in Pakistan.”

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Du Plooy shared details on his first-ever PSL playing experience with the media following the game.

“Even though this is my first visit, Mickey Arthur has taught me a lot about PSL.” Being a part of it is an incredible experience, and I think this league is fantastic,” Du Plooy said.

“I am astounded to see the local talent here after facing some of the net bowlers,” he continued.

In addition, Du Plooy took responsibility for his team’s errors following their defeat by Islamabad United and thanked Colin Munro for his criticism.

“In Karachi, the pitch gets harder in the middle overs and it’s easier to play in the powerplay, but we were unable to take advantage of the conditions.”

“They [Islamabad United] did a great job in the powerplay in both innings; Colin Munro in particular did a great job.”

He also valued Shan Masood, the captain of the Karachi Kings, for his leadership qualities, as the two of them stitched together a 40-run partnership for the second wicket.

“I had fun batting with Shan Masood; he’s a great leader.”

Quetta Gla will take on the Karachi Kings.

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Karachi: PSL 9 match traffic schedule

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The second round of PSL 9 matches is slated to take place from February 28 to March 18. In order to improve attendance’ convenience and ensure smooth traffic flow, Karachi Traffic Police created a specific plan.

It is recommended that guests who are coming from places like Karsaz, Millennium, and New Town use the allotted parking spaces at the PSB Coaching Centre, which is close to the stadium.

In order to prioritise the flow of cars and pedestrians, some roads will also have restricted heavy traffic access during match days.

The following routes are off-limits: Carsaaz to the Stadium, Millennium to New Town, Liaquatabad No. 10 to Hassan Square, Peoples Chowrangi to University Road, Sohrab Goth to Nipa, and Stadium Signal to Hassan Square.

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