Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game since moving to Saudi Arabia could pit him against Lionel Messi. According to his coach, who stated that the Portugal international will play against Paris Saint-Germain in a friendly later this month.
Cristiano must serve a suspension before making his league debut for Al Nassr. But he is expected to face PSG in Riyadh on January 19 in a team. He will be comprised of Al Nassr and Al Hilal players.
Ronaldo was suspended by England’s Football Association. He faced suspension for knocking a phone out of a fan’s hand after Manchester United’s defeat at Everton in April. He missed the first of two domestic games for Al Nassr on Friday.
Al Nassr manager Rudi Garcia confirmed that the 37-year-old forward would also miss the league game against Al Shabab and was set to make his debut against Ettifaq on 22 January – but he expects Ronaldo to play against PSG. The game is also significant from a geopolitical standpoint, with Saudi clubs facing a Qatar-owned team.
“It [his debut] will not be with the Al Nassr jersey,” Garcia was quoted by L’Équipe as saying. “It will be a hybrid of Al Hilal and Al Nassr. This match does not make me happy as Al Nassr’s coach. To see PSG, to see the great Parisian players, is a good thing for development. However, there is a championship game three days later.
“The scheduling could have been better thought out. But it’s not such a big deal… We are pleased because we are in the lead. It will be a difficult championship to win, but we are determined to do so.”
Garcia compared Ronaldo’s arrival in Saudi Arabia to Pelé’s move to the New York Cosmos, highlighting the little-known Saudi club, which has gained more than 10 million new Instagram followers since the player’s arrival.
“In recent months, he has not had easy moments between Manchester United, the national team, and also at a private level,” the manager said of Ronaldo. “It will be a good goal to achieve if he finds the pleasure of playing again.”
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