Ronaldo makes debut as Al-Nassr defeat Ettifaq 1-0. As the highest-paid player in history, Cristiano Ronaldo guided Al Nassr to a 1-0 victory over Ettifaq on Sunday, giving him a winning start to life in the Saudi Pro League.
After the 37-year-old moved for agreements totaling more than 400 million euros, the Portuguese superstar had some time to get going, but there were encouraging indications for Al Nassr, who are targeting local and continental silverware.
However, Ronaldo’s league debut seemed underwhelming in front of 22,862 spectators after he scored twice in this week’s entertaining 5-4 exhibition loss to Paris Saint-Germain of Lionel Messi.
As captain for Al Nassr, Ronaldo had a quiet first half and twice tried trickery cost him the ball as his teammates failed to get it to him.
Ronaldo nearly connected with Abdulmajeed Al Sulaiheem’s cross that Anderson Talisca headed in on 31 minutes after Ronaldo’s early drive from the outside of the box was deflected over.
Soon after, Ronaldo blasted over a free kick from a prime location just beyond the penalty area while being greeted by cries of “Siu!” whenever he touched the ball.
After a few of his signature stepovers, Ronaldo set up Pity Martinez and Talisca for successive near calls as Al Nassr’s front three started to gel in the second half.
Ronaldo began to feel comfortable with his role after swinging and missing with a bicycle kick. He then tried a shot from an almost impossible angle after dribbling into the area.
However, Ronaldo was unable to score in front of his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez as Al Nassr continued to lead the Saudi Pro League thanks to the victory.
Greatest of all time
Early in January, Ronaldo came in the oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia. However, his debut was postponed as he served a two-match suspension for kicking a fan’s phone out of his hand while playing for Manchester United.
Ronaldo, an undisputed all-time great who has consistently performed on football’s grandest platforms and accumulated an incredible number of team and personal honors, is taking a step back with his transfer to Saudi Arabia.
The five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or is the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League and has won five domestic titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus.
In addition, Ronaldo holds the record for both lifetime goals (819) and international goals (118 with Portugal, the country with whom he won the 2016 Euro). He became the first person to score in five World Cups in Qatar last year.
After his second tenure at Manchester United ended bitterly due to his disparaging the team in a TV appearance, he made a shocking transfer to Al Nassr.
Al Nassr signed a contract for more than 200 million euros, according to a source close to him, on top of a previous 200 million euro agreement to serve as an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s anticipated 2030 World Cup co-hosting bid.
It will increase Ronaldo’s wealth even further, who in 2020 became the first player to surpass $1 billion in career earnings.
His extensive social media presence, with close to 800 million followers across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, contributes to his popularity.
Activist organizations, like as Amnesty International, have criticized his transfer, stating that it will make him a “instrument of Saudi Arabia’s sportswashing” of its “appalling human rights record.”