Ronaldo Wins His First Game Following Successful Move to Saudi Arabia
“I want him to enjoy playing and tonight he was happy to play for the first time with his new team.” As the highest-paid footballer 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.
Despite the Portuguese superstar’s goalless performance, Al Nassr saw encouraging signals as they eyed local and continental honors after the 37-year-old moved for agreements worth more than 400 million euros.
However, Ronaldo’s league debut felt 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.
Rudi Garcia, the coach of Al Nassr, said, “He’s one of the best players in football history, therefore it’s very important for us to do everything we can to put him in the best shape.”
“I want him to enjoy playing, and tonight he was excited to play with his new squad for the first time,” his mother said.
As captain of Al Nassr, Ronaldo made a quiet first half, twice misplacing the ball while attempting trickery as his teammates battled to get it to him.
Ronaldo’s initial shot from the edge of the box was deflected over, and on minute 31, Anderson Talisca headed in Abdulmajeed Al Sulaiheem’s cross for the game’s lone goal.
Soon after, Ronaldo, who was greeted by cries of “Siu!” whenever he touched the ball, blasted over a free kick from a prime location just beyond the penalty area.
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.