Al Nassr described the signing of Ronaldo as “formative history”. However, the Portuguese superstar quickly experienced the fierceness in the Middle East. The standards in the Saudi Pro League cannot match the top football of the English, Spanish and Italian leagues, where Ronaldo has been throughout his career, but the competition here is huge.
Ronaldo could not enjoy the joy in his first season away from the European pitch. When consecutive success turned away at MU and with the national team at the 2022 World Cup, Ronaldo chose Al Nassr to hope for a beautiful ending in the afternoon of his career. However, Ronaldo’s sad days continued.
“Ronaldo has had the worst season of his career,” Marca describes. In a short space of time, the Portuguese superstar from his status as one of the biggest stars in the Premier League quickly received defeat in Saudi Arabia, accompanied by his worst goalscoring record since 2007.
Ronaldo ended his first season playing for Al Nassr with 14 goals in 16 appearances in the Saudi Pro League. However, he had a second consecutive season without a title. Before CR7 arrived, Al Nassr was 8 points ahead of the chasing team. At the end of the season, they lost the championship when they let Al Ittihad lead 5 points back.
Ronaldo has rarely enjoyed himself since the summer of 2022. As soon as Erik Ten Hag was appointed, CR7 realized that he did not fit the philosophy of the new coach. In contrast, the Dutch military leader also began to find ways to reduce Ronaldo’s influence.
As a result, Ronaldo did not attend the summer tour. He stayed in Europe for the purpose of finding a new destination. However, no club is willing to pay huge salaries and break the team structure to recruit Ronaldo. Unable to go, Ronaldo was forced to stay.
However, the situation is not so peaceful for the former Real Madrid striker. Ronaldo only started 4 matches in the Premier League before the 2022 World Cup kicks off. Ronaldo was annoyed, refused to come on as a substitute in the win against Tottenham and was suspended by MU.
Things could not be saved when Ronaldo conducted a scandalous interview with Piers Morgan. MU quickly terminated CR7’s contract a few days later. Ronaldo left the “Red Devils” behind in the hope of rebuilding his career right at the 2022 World Cup. However, Ronaldo’s performance gradually declined.
Ronaldo only scored one goal from the 11 m mark. He was pushed by junior Goncalo Ramos to the bench against Switzerland in the round of 16. Ramos played explosively and became the first Portuguese player to score a hat-trick in the knockout stages since Eusebio did it in 1966.
On a night when even some of the most loyal fans could clearly see the fading Ronaldo star, another talent came to light. Of course, Portugal was then still knocked out in the quarterfinals by Morocco. However, Ronaldo did not leave any mark on Qatar. The relationship between CR7 and coach Fernando Santos appeared to be cracked.
Before the 2022 World Cup, Ronaldo bid farewell to MU. Thoughts that psychological comfort will help CR7 sublimate. Who would have thought, Ronaldo kept falling behind. People still revere Ronaldo, of course. How could they not, after all he had done in his career? But clearly Ronaldo’s position is not the same as before.
At the same time that the 2022 World Cup ended with disappointment, Ronaldo shocked when he agreed to move to Saudi Arabia to play football. Ronaldo went to the Middle East to regain his glory, but his time with Al Nassr was not much better.
The explosive performance gradually became sparse, replaced by uncontrolled actions on the field. The frequency of temper appearing more and more reflects Ronaldo’s frustration when Al Nassr constantly drops scores. Ronaldo left an ugly image knocking down the opponent’s player with a wrestling phase.
Al Nassr was eliminated by Al Ittihad in the Saudi Super Cup a few days after Ronaldo arrived and lost to a relegation-threatened Al Wehda in the King’s Cup. The team based in Riyadh showed a lack of uniformity despite having Ronaldo in the squad.
In 5 months in Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo scored 14 goals. Not bad for any other player. However, it is not really commensurate with the superstar who has achieved more than 1 goal per game in 9 years with Real Madrid. 22 goals for MU, Al Nassr and Portugal in the 2022/23 season saw Ronaldo’s worst performance since 2006, when he was just 21 years old.
Al Nassr thinks they have players who can make the difference, but Ronaldo often can’t keep up with the pace here. At the age of 38, CR7 feels that he is no longer capable of playing at the top level.
Ronaldo has no intention of stopping. Ronaldo is still Ronaldo. He is determined to stay in Saudi Arabia for at least another season to prove his worth. However, what is happening shows that life in the Middle East is not peaceful.
At the end of his career, Ronaldo is not having everything as he wants.
Xiaofeng | 13:00 06/02/2023