Messi vs Ronaldo: What the meeting of two legends tells us about the future of sports

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Ronaldo and Messi symbolize the growing influence of the Gulf countries on world sports

In the run-up to the January 19 match between French champions Paris Saint Germain and Saudi Arabia’s All Stars in Riyadh, the alluring prospect of a match between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo naturally dominated.

But this friendly is yet another example of the growing influence of the Gulf countries on the sport, and goes far beyond the decision to host the exhibition match in Saudi Arabia.

Since 2011, PSG has been owned by Qatari investors linked to the country’s royal family, and the resulting infusion of cash has brought global superstars such as Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar to the club.

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