Who is Al-Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo’s reported new club?
With just one solid offer on the table, everything points to Cristiano Ronaldo joining Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Nassr in January.
With the likes of Colombian keeper David Ospina and Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar already in their ranks, are Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Nassr set to add the name of Cristiano Ronaldo to the squad?
Speculation is rife that the Madeira born striker has just one definitive offer on the table from the Riyadh based outfit with outside interest also coming from Doha based Al-Saad in the Qatar Stars League but that offers from major European sides for the veteran striker have now dried up. The big money proposal on offer to join Al-Nassr also includes undertaking an ambassadorial role for the kingdom as it prepares a joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup long with Egypt and Greece.
Who are Al-Nassr?
Al-Nassr is the Arabic word for “victory” with the name being taken by football clubs across the Gulf region with ‘Al-Nassr’s competing in Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE and Libya but the Saudi Arabian club was the first to take the name.
Based in the Saudi city of Riyadh, the club were founded in 1955 and are one of the most successful domestic sides in the kingdom having won won nine Premier League titles, six King’s Cups, three Crown Prince’s Cups, three Federation Cups and two Saudi Super Cups. At international level, they hold the impressive feat of pulling a historic Asian double in 1998, by claiming both the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup and the Asian Super Cup.
Al-Nassr are one of the three top flight sides in the city of Riyadh and enjoy a healthy sporting relationship with other teams in the most populated city in the Gulf such as Al-Shabab and main rival Al-Hilal with the Riyadh ‘Clasico’ becoming one of the standout fixtures in the Pro League fixture list.
The Mrsool Park side became the first ever Asian side to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in January 2000 with the competition staged in Brazil. Defeats to Corinthians and Real Madrid ended their involvement in the competition but the Knights of Najd did manage to record a historic 4-3 win over Raja Casablanca.
Big names on the bench
Foreign coaches are very much in high demand for many sides in the Gulf and Al-Nassr are no exception with a host of talent from the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Uruguay overseeing the side in the past. Illustrious names such as Walter Zenga, Fabio Cannavaro, Artur Jorge have sat in the Mrsool Park dugout with Frenchman and former Roma, Lyon and Marseille manager Rudy Garcia taking over as head coach in June of this year. Speaking to AS at the World Cup in Doha recently, Garcia stated that he would be ‘delighted’ to work with a big name star such as Cristiano Ronaldo.
Amid all the speculation, the Al-Nassr club president Musalli Al Muammar attempted to play-down the rumours linking Cristiano Ronaldo with a move to Saudi Arabia in early December affirming that he ‘refused to speak about any other players’.