regular-article-logo Saturday, 23 September 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo's first season in Saudi Arabia ends with injury

In the 38-year-old Ronaldo’s absence, Anderson Talisca takes centre stage to score twice

Our Bureau Riyadh Published 02.06.23, 05:18 AM
Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo. File photo

Cristiano Ronaldo missed the final matchday of the Saudi Pro League due to injury as his Al Nassr team finished their season with a 3-0 victory over Al Fateh on Wednesday.

In the 38-year-old Ronaldo’s absence, Anderson Talisca took centre stage to score twice. He also assisted Mohammed Marwan for a third.


The Portuguese forward decided not to sit on the bench for the frustrating end to his first season in Saudi Arabia after joining Al Nassr in January on a contract estimated by the media to be worth more than $213.5 million.

Ronaldo ended up with 14 goals in 16 matches, having played every minute of every league game barring a 1-1 draw with Al Ettifaq last month, when he was taken off in the 84th minute, and Wednesday’s final match.

Al Nassr failed to win any titles this season and finished the league in second place, five points behind the champions Al Ittihad.

Al Ittihad celebrated a first title since 2009 with a 2-0 win against Al Tai.

Abderazzak Hamdallah of Morocco opened the scoring with a second-half penalty that also secured the golden boot with his 21st goal of the season. Former Leeds United and Wolves winger Helder Costa added the second in injury time.

It’s the first league title won by coach Nuno Santo, just 18 months after the Portuguese tactician was dismissed by Tottenham Hotspur. Al Hil­al finished in third spot.

Written with inputs from Reuters

Future poser for Mourinho

Budapest: AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho said he was uncertain about his future at the club following their 4-1 penalty shootout defeat in the Europa League final against Sevilla on Wednesday.

The defeat meant Roma failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League and prompted questions about whether the 60-year-old would remain in the Italian capital, having been linked with Paris St Germain.

“I have to fight for these lads and therefore not say objectively that I will remain,” Mourinho told Sky Sports Italia. “I spoke to the club in December when I had that approach from the Portuguese national team.

“I have not had any contact with anyone else since then. I have a year left on my contract and this is the situation.”

It was Mourinho’s first defeat in a European final, but he said he was proud of his team’s performance and acknowledged that the season had taken its toll.

“We’re physically exhausted, mentally drained, feeling dead because we believe it’s an unjust defeat with numerous debatable incidents.

“I lost this one, but I return home prouder than ever this time. The lads gave absolutely everything this season.”


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