Copy of 967170-01-02-1676383468632
Al Nassr's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (right) dribbles past Al Fateh's Saudi midfielder Mohammed Al Fuhaid (left) during the Saudi Pro League match at the Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Stadium in Al Hasa. Al Nassr won 4-0 with Ronaldo scoring all four goals. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s impressive four-goal haul last week for Al Nassr against Al Wehda, coach Rudi Garcia believes his team are now starting to understand how to get the best out of the Portuguese superstar.

38-year-old Ronaldo appeared to struggle in his new surroundings initially after signing a lucrative contract worth £172 million-a-year. He failed to find the back of the net in his first two games having arrived at the Saudi Pro League club in January after having his Manchester United contract terminated following an interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticized the club’s manager and board.

Real Madrid

But following an underwhelming start, the former Real Madrid and Juventus striker rolled back the years by grabbing all four goals against Al Wehda last Thursday.

Garcia deserves credit for urging his side to “play normally” rather than continually trying to look for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner who had just scored once in his first three competitive appearances for Al Nassr before his goal glut.

“It is very important that the players play normally and don’t always try to give Cristiano the ball,” Garcia said after Al Nassr’s disappointing defeat against Al Ittihad in the Saudi Super Cup last month. “I told them they had to make the right decisions on the pitch. Obviously, when Cristiano or Anderson Talisca are alone and ask for the ball, we have to give them the ball. These two players are capable of making a difference. We have to work on it, have one of them in the area and maybe the other will play outside the area.”

Good night

After the 4-0 win over Al Wehda, Garcia said: “Ronaldo has reached a great stage of homogeneity and harmony with his teammates. Over time, his team-mates realised what he wanted and when he will score. I think it was a good night for Cristiano Ronaldo because he scored four goals.”

With those four strikes Ronaldo surpassed his latest milestone by clocking up a remarkable 503 league goals. It also meant Al Nassr, who are aiming to win their first domestic title since 2019, sit at the top the table ahead of Al Ittihad on goal difference.

They will continue their title charge when they face fifth-placed Al Taawoun on Friday night and Ronaldo will be licking his lips at the prospect of grabbing more goals now that he looks to have finally settled down with his new club.