The Portuguese superstar could end the season trophyless after a tough few days in Saudi Arabia
In January, Cristiano Ronaldo made one of the most stunning transfers in recent memory, leaving Europe to join the Saudi Arabian giants, Al Nassr.
This move came shortly after Manchester United terminated Ronaldo’s contract following a controversial interview with journalist Piers Morgan, during which he launched a bizarre attack on the club, head coach Erik Ten Haag, and some of his teammates.
Despite the clouds surrounding his move, Ronaldo’s first few months with Al Nassr could not have gone any better. The former Real Madrid star scored an impressive 11 goals in as many games, quickly making his team the favourites to land a league and cup double.
However, April was a tough month for Ronaldo and his dreams of winning the title with Al Nassr. He started the month with a brace in the 5-0 thrashing of Al Adalah, but things quickly went downhill. A disappointing goalless draw followed at Anthony Nwakaeme’s Al Feiha, a struggling club at the lower end of the league table.
This draw allowed title rivals Al Ittihad to overtake Al Nassr at the top of the standings, and the club wasted no time in sacking head coach Rudi Garcia.
However, Al Nassr surprisingly appointed U19 coach Dinko Jelicic to lead the team until the end of the campaign.
🚨— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) April 12, 2023
The management of Al-Nassr have sacked Rudi Garcia. The young Croatian coach Dinko Jeličić will replace him.
Unfortunately, things did not improve for Ronaldo and Al Nassr. In their next match, they faced reigning champions Al Hilal, who had the league’s most potent marksman, Odion Ighalo, on their side.
In a battle of two elite strikers, it was Ighalo who came out on top, expertly converting a pair of penalties to condemn Al Nassr to a 2-0 defeat.
This loss dealt a major blow to Al Nassr’s title aspirations, leaving Al Ittihad three points ahead of them, having played one less game.
Days after Ighalo claimed the bragging rights against Ronaldo, the former Watford ace featured for 100 minutes to help Al Hilal beat Al Ittihad and reach the final of the King’s Cup.
With Al Nassr and Al Wehda playing in the second semifinal, a win for the title hopefuls would have given Ronaldo a chance to win his first trophy in Saudi Arabia. It would have also allowed him to get his pound of flesh against Al Hilal and Ighalo.
However, once again, Al Nassr failed to deliver, losing 1-0 to Al Wehda in a memorable encounter. French forward Jean-David Beauguel got the match’s only goal midway through the first half.
At the final whistle, a disappointed Ronaldo walked off the pitch, shaking his head. When he reached the sidelines where coach Dinko Jelicic stood, Ronaldo’s frustration took over, and he had a bizarre confrontational moment with the 49-year-old Croat.
Despite these setbacks, Ronaldo and Al Nassr still have a chance to salvage their season. They must win their remaining six league games, starting with a home tie against Al Raed this weekend.
However, their destiny is not entirely in their own hands, as they will still need Al Ittihad to lose two of their seven remaining games.
Despite the setbacks, Ronaldo has proven time and time again his ability to bounce back from adversity.
With his talent and determination, there is no doubt that he will continue to push himself and his team to achieve success in the remaining games.
Only time will tell if Al Nassr can overcome their challenges and come out on top, but one thing is for sure, Ronaldo will be giving it his all until the very end.