Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score on his Saudi Pro League debut for Al-Nasr, but his presence at the King Saud University Stadium fired up fans as the team cruised to a 1-0 win to reclaim top spot on Sunday. defeated.
Tulska headed home the winner in the 31st minute when Abdul Majid Al Sulaihim’s cross was too high for Ronaldo, who didn’t mind as he circled around to celebrate with the Brazil midfielder and the rest of his teammates.
Al Nasr, who have played 14 games, move one point ahead of defending champions Al Hilal, who have played one game more.
Al-Nasr fans had to wait three weeks to see their new hero in competitive action after one of the most surprising changes in football history was announced.
On Thursday, Ronaldo played for a combined Al-Nasr and Al-Hilal XI in an exhibition game against a Paris Saint-Germain side that included old foe Lionel Messi.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who starred for Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, signed a contract with Al-Nasser until June 2025 after rejecting offers from Europe, North America and beyond. .
Media reports claim the Portugal star could earn up to $200 million a year from the deal, making him the highest-paid soccer player in history.
Al-Nasr president Mosli Al-Mumar would not confirm the figures for Ronaldo’s two-and-a-half-year deal but said the 37-year-old deserves to be the highest-paid player on the planet.
The attention-grabbing deal fuels debate about Saudi Arabia’s use of so-called “sportswashing” to boost its image internationally. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund owns Premier League team Newcastle, and the country is considering a bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
Ronaldo has been a free agent since being terminated by Manchester United following an explosive TV interview in which he criticized manager Erik ten Hague and the club’s owners because of the club’s repeated use of the bench. And was even temporarily suspended.
He also came off a disappointing World Cup where he was benched in the knockout rounds and left the field in tears after Portugal’s quarter-final loss to Morocco.
While Saudi Arabia achieved its biggest ever international football win at the World Cup in neighboring Qatar when it defeated eventual champions Argentina in its first group stage game, some of its domestic league Others are stars and are not seen by large international audiences.
This story was published without editing the text from a wire agency feed.
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