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Cristiano Ronaldo finishes Saudi Pro League by setting the season goal-scoring record

After the match, a proud Ronaldo posted on X: 'I don’t follow the records, the records follow me'

AP/PTI Riyadh Published 29.05.24, 10:46 AM
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo finished the Saudi Pro League by setting the season goal-scoring record on Monday.

Ronaldo scored twice in Riyadh as Al Nassr defeated Al Ittihad 4-2 and lifted his league tally to 35, one more than the record in 2019 by Abderrazak Hamdallah.


After the match, a proud Ronaldo posted on X: “I don’t follow the records, the records follow me.”

The Saudi mark also helped the superstar set another record. He is the first player to finish as the top scorer in top-tier leagues of four different countries — England (Manchester United), Spain (Real Madrid), Italy (Juventus) and Saudi Arabia.

“Proud to make history as the first top scorer in 4 countries. A huge thank you to all the clubs, teammates and staff who helped me along the way,” the 39-year-old wrote on X.

In the final seconds of the first half of Monday’s match, Ronaldo, who had already had two goals ruled out for offside, chested down a long pass from Mohammed Al-Fatil and opened the scoring with a low shot from the left side of the area.

With 21 minutes remaining, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner celebrated wildly after heading home a corner from Marcelo Brozovic. He was substituted off the field five minutes later to a standing ovation from the home fans.

It ended an action-packed season for Ronaldo, who scored four hat tricks and collected one red card. He was also suspended for an obscene gesture in February at Al Shabab fans who had been chanting the name of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s longstanding soccer rival.

Al Nassr finished second in the league, 14 points behind local rival Al Hilal, who won the championship more than two weeks ago and completed the 34-round league unbeaten on Monday.

Al Hilal was too strong even without Neymar, who joined the club in August from Paris Saint-Germain but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in October.

Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped in and ended the season with a goal in the final seconds to clinch a 2-1 win over Al Wehda. The Serbian striker, signed from London club Fulham last summer, reached 27 league goals, second only to Ronaldo.

On their way to the title, Al Hilal went on a 34-game winning streak in all competitions, a new world record for a top-tier team.

“This season has been truly exceptional for the team, arguably our best ever,” coach Jorge Jesus said. “The credit goes to the immense talent within the squad.”

Al Ittihad’s defeat at Al Nassr ended a disappointing season for the defending champions.

Karim Benzema, signed from Real Madrid, struggled with injuries and even with N’Golo Kante and Fabinho in midfield, signed from Chelsea and Liverpool, respectively, the team from Jeddah could manage only fifth place.

Ronaldo still has one more chance to end the season with a trophy when Al Nassr meets Al Hilal in the King’s Cup final on Friday.

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