Dubai: For several weeks the main talking point in football was which club would Cristiano Ronaldo join after he had his contract terminated by Manchester United. That was answered as the Portugal captain joined Saudi Arabia side Al Nassr on a £175 million-a-year deal. Now, the next big question is when will he make his debut for his new team?
Excited Al Nassr fans chanted his name and performed his trademark ‘Siiiu’ celebration in the stands as they watched their team beat Al Khaleej 1-0 in the Saudi Pro League at the weekend.
Fact file on Ronaldo's new club Al Nassr
Portuguese flags were visible in the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium as Vincent Aboubakar got the only goal of the game. It kept Al Nassr one point clear of Al Shabab at the top of the table.
The 37-year-old was not at the match but it is understood that a grand unveiling at a home game at the 25,000-capacity Mrsool Park is being planned. And that could be on Thursday January 5 when Al Nassr take on Al Ta’ee.
But, the superstar forward could also wait for the massive top of the table clash against Al Shabab on January 14 with the two teams jockeying for first place.
Ronaldo has been resting after his exploits at the FIFA World Cup and will be fresh and ready to make his debut with the world watching.
But since the former Real Madrid and Juventus ace has moved to a league outside of Europe, he will no longer be playing in the UEFA Champions League. Saudi Arabia is a member of the Asian confederation whose continental club competition is the AFC Champions League however Al Nassr did not qualify for this year’s competition.
Still, it won’t be long before he is up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe when Al Nassr play in a massive friendly game against Paris Saint-Germain in the Riyadh Season Cup. The match was originally scheduled to be played in January 2022 but was postponed due to COVID-19. It is expected to be rescheduled for early this year.