Al Nassr 3-0 Al Fateh: Ronaldo absent as hosts end season with a bang


Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut season in Saudi Arabia ended on Wednesday, with Al Nassr stomping to a stunning victory in front of their home crowd.

Al Nassr signed off on the 2022/23 campaign with an impressive 3-0 final-day victory over Al-Fateh in the Saudi Pro League on Wednesday.

With the title lost, and second-place secure, it was effectively a dead-rubber game. Therefore, Al Nassr didn’t include Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. They decided to rest their captain after he suffered a muscle injury in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Al-Ettifaq.

In CR7’s absence, Anderson Talisca led the way for the Knights of Najd. The Brazilian scored two goals and assisted Mohammed Marwan for a third. His efforts ensured the team finished with a respectable 67 points from 30 games this season, five points behind champions Al-Ittihad.

Last season’s Saudi Pro League champions, Al-Hilal, secured third place, eight points behind Al Nassr, following a thrilling 3-2 victory over Al-Raed.

What next for CR7?

Ronaldo’s focus will now turn to the upcoming international break. The striker is in the Portugal squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland. He hopes to help extend the team’s 100% record in Group J.

If Ronaldo features in both of these games, he will attain 200 international caps. And given the fact CR7 scored four goals in Roberto Martinez’s first two matches in March, it’s hard to see the Portugal manager passing up on the chance to play the all-time leading international goalscorer.

Ronaldo also finished fifth in the Saudi Pro League Golden Boot race. Despite his late arrival in January, the striker made an immediate impact at Al Nassr, scoring an impressive 14 goals in just 16 games. He finished seven goals behind the league’s top scorer Abderrazak Hamdallah. The Al-Ittihad star had 21 goals to his name in 26 appearances.

Portugal’s first game against Bosnia-Herzegovina in this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers is on June 17. They will visit Iceland three days later on June 20.

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