Real Madrid beat Paris Saint Germain 1-0 in friendly in Qatar
Goal from Jese in the first half settled the match
Star players Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in line-ups
Qatar will be hosting 2022 World Cup
Qatari football fans had a tantalizing glimpse into the future as some of the best players in world strutted their stuff in a special friendly match in Doha Thursday night.
Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic topped the bill for a prestige friendly, which Real won 1-0.
The pair had last locked horns in Portugal and Sweden’s 2014 World Cup playoff match last November where Ronaldo’s brilliance proved the difference over the two legs.
Qatar has won the right to host the 2022 finals and although Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic are unlikely to have extended their careers to play in that World Cup, similar quality is sure to be on view.
What time of the year the competition will take place is the big question that has proved so controversial, with FIFA examining the possibility of switching from the traditional summer slot to the European winter.
Conditions for Thursday’s friendly in front of a capacity crowd at the Khalifa International Stadium were near perfect for football, with a cooling light drizzle.
Ideal for Ronaldo and his like, but just down the road fellow superstar Rafael Nadal was kept waiting for his quarterfinal match in the Qatar Open tennis against Ernests Gulbis, before winning in straight sets.
Temperatures during the summer in Qatar can sometimes reach 50 degrees C, which is perplexing football’s administrators as well as local organizers, who have promised air-conditioned stadiums should the original dates be kept in the footballing calendar.
Real, who resume competition in Spain’s La Liga at the weekend, fielded a mixture of established first teamers like Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos with some fringe players and youngsters.
It was two of them that combined to score the only goal of the match in the 19th minute as Alvaro Morata produced a clever defense-splitting pass for young striker Jese to convert past PSG goakeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
Ibrahimovic, who scored 47 goals in 58 games in 2013, showed his quality as French champions PSG looked to equalize.
He twice set up Edinson Cavani, but the Uruguay striker wasted both opportunities.
Ibrahimovic might have got on the scoresheet after the break but he headed over, the first of a number of chances for PSG, who had the better of the play.
Ronaldo also gave some thrilling glimpses of the quality which could earn him FIFA World Player of the Year accolade later this month, but failed to increase Real’s slender lead.
At the final whistle Real’s coach Carlo Ancelotti shook hands with the man who replaced him at PSG, Laurent Blanc and both looked satisfied with a run-out for their teams ahead of weekend competitive action.
PSG are Qatari-owned and will likely repeat the exercise next year with reports suggesting Real are slated again as part of the compensation they paid the Parisian club for acquiring Ancelotti.