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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo scores first Al-Nassr goal

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Cristiano Ronaldo is finally off the mark in the Saudi Pro League after scoring his first goal for Al Nassr to rescue a 2-2 draw in the 93rd minute against Al Fateh on Friday night.

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Ronaldo, who will turn 38 on Sunday, had previously drawn blanks against Al-Ettifaq and Al Ittihad for his new club and his third appearance looked to be heading the same way.

But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner got the chance to open his account in the Middle East when Al-Nassr were awarded a penalty right at the end of the game.

Ronaldo and co. were trailing at that point, with Al Fateh holding a 2-1 lead since just before the hour mark after also earlier breaking the deadlock.

The Portugal legend took the safe option from the spot, shaping to aim for a corner but then slotting the ball down the middle once Al Fateh goalkeeper Jacob Rinne had committed to diving.

The result ensured that Al-Nassr remain top of the Saudi Pro League, level on points with Al Shabab, who have played a game more. Al Hilal are two points behind, with Al Ittihad only one further back and with a game in hand. Just four points separate the league’s entire top five.

Ronaldo’s contract at Manchester United was mutually terminated in November in the wake of a controversial interview aired on TalkTV, during which he criticised the club and did irreparable damage to his relationship with manager Erik ten Hag.

He ended up turning down offers from Brazil, while even MLS outfit Sporting Kansas City were rumoured to be close to securing a shock transfer, before winding up in Saudi Arabia on an astronomical contract that makes him the highest paid sportsperson in the world.

European giants like Bayern Munich or Chelsea opted against pursuing him, despite suggestions that Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United to play in the Champions League.

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