As Cristiano prepares for his Al Nassr debut, how are his club doing in the Saudi Pro League?
With his two-game FIFA ban now complete, Cristiano Ronaldo is primed for his debut with new club Al Nassr as they face Ettifaq on Sunday in Riyadh.
The football spotlight will, once again, return to Riyadh on Sunday night as 37-year-old Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo is primed to make his first team debut for Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr. Cristiano’s deal with the Roshn Saudi League side runs for two and a half years through to June 2025, with the player set to earn a total salary of $231m per year once commercial agreements are also included. The deal is thought to be the highest salary ever paid to a professional footballer.
You can follow Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut here
Cristiano secured the move in late December last year after he and Manchester United decided to go their separate ways in an acrimonious split, leaving the player as a free agent. The Portuguese has been unable to debut for his new team due to a FIFA ban after the player slapped a teenager’s phone in a moment of frustration last April. He was hit with a $61,000 fine and a two-game suspension, which he has now served after missing the SPL games against Al Ta’ee and Al Shabab.
Al Nassr’s current form
With nine Saudi league championships to their name, Al Nassr are one of the biggest sides traditionally in Saudi Arabia’s domestic game - but their haul of national titles lags well behind city rivals Al Hilal, who have 18. Indeed, the ‘Blue Waves’ are the most successful club in Asia, with 65 trophies.
As the 2022/23 Roshn Saudi League heads towards the halfway mark of the season, Al Nassr are well positioned to make an assault for the league title, as they trail Nuno Espirito Santo’s Al Ittihad by just one point, having played a game less than the Jeddah-based side. All three major title contenders - Al Ittihad, Al Nassr and third-placed Al Hilal - have been beaten just once all season and it seems inevitable that one of the big three of Saudi football will claim the 22/23 title.
Since moving to Riyadh at the end of 2022, Al Nassr have recorded two wins and a draw in their past three outings and will expect to secure maximum points on Sunday as tenth-placed Ettifaq visit Mrsool Park, where a capacity crowd will be in attendance to see Cristiano don the yellow shirt for the first time in a competitive game.
The striker’s objective with his new club will focus on bringing the ‘Faris Najd’ domestic and continental success, with his acquisition another powerplay in Saudi Arabia’s plan to project itself on a global scale through football. The Gulf nation is believed to be planning a joint 2030 World Cup bid with Egypt and Greece.