Next week’s friendly international between Argentina and Portugal staged at Old Trafford, which has been promoted as a chance to see the world’s best two players in action, has sold just a paltry 15,000 tickets.

The prospect of seeing Argentina’s Lionel Messi, 27, and Portugal’s former Cristiano Ronaldo, 29, renew their longstanding rivalry has simply not caugh the imagination of the Manchester public.

Tickets for the match cost £40. Old Trafford’s capacity is 75,731.

“I don’t know why we haven’t had more sales,” match organiser Leo Morales said.

Real Madrid forward Ronaldo is the reigning World Player of the Year , while Messi, runner-up a year ago, had won the award cour times.