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Cristiano Ronaldo Transfer News: Surrounded by bottlers! CR7 won’t win a major trophy at Al-Nassr

Tom Weber

  • Updated: 12 Mar 2024 10:06 GMT
  • 4 min read
Cristiano Ronaldo, Al-Nassr, 2023/24

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of enjoying a trophy-laden end to his career are quickly fading.

The Portuguese legend has been the most transformative signing in the history of football in Saudi Arabia, his arrival in 2023 ringing in an era of unprecedented spending. Yet, if Ronaldo expected the twilight of his career to be as illustrious as his earlier years, he was sorely mistaken.

The ambitious forward has netted 34 goals in all competitions for Al-Nassr this term, but his side won’t win a major trophy. Of course, they have already won the Arab Club Champions Cup – essentially a pre-season tournament – and they are still in with a chance of claiming the King Cup, Saudi Arabia’s domestic cup competition.

However, the trophies that matter most will elude Ronaldo this term, and potentially next season as well. The Riyadh giants are miles off the pace in the Saudi Pro League, a whopping 12 points off city rivals Al-Hilal at the summit. Al-Nassr are also out of the AFC Champions League after a game that illustrated exactly why Ronaldo and company will end the campaign empty-handed.

Cristiano Ronaldo
© IMAGO – Cristiano Ronaldo

Surrounded by bottlers?

Al-Nassr’s Champions League quarter-final second leg with Al Ain from the United Arab Emirates was an instant classic. The Saudi side headed into the fixture 1-0 down from the first leg and it seemed as though their fate was sealed when Al Ain stormed into a two-goal lead late in the first half.

Al-Nassr clawed their way back, though, eventually gaining a 3-2 advantage and sending the game to extra time. However, Al Ain again scored and, with the Saudis now down to 10 men, the game looked done and dusted. But then Ronaldo stepped up.

The Riyadh side were awarded a 118th-minute penalty and the Portuguese converted. Penalties were thus required to decide a winner. Al Ain, in keeping with their performance across the two legs, converted their spot kicks without much of a fuss.

Al-Nassr’s players, however, crumbled under pressure. Indeed, it was the players you would least expect who missed their spot kicks. Ronaldo was the only one to convert, with Marcelo Brozovic and Alex Telles seeing their attempts saved before €60 million signing Otavio blasted his spot-kick off target.

The worrying thing for Ronaldo and Al-Nassr, besides the fact that the club’s big-name players truly bottled it, is that hated rivals Al-Hilal will only get stronger in the summer. The record Saudi champions are plotting another spending spree and they could make a move for Mohamed Salah, with Al-Ittihad also still interested, as revealed by FootballTransfers.

Al-Hilal have been dominant this season despite the fact that Neymar has been injured for most of it. With Jorge Jesus’ side investing even more and the Brazil star potentially back next season, Al-Nassr will face an uphill battle to challenge for the Pro League or the Champions League.

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