While Lionel Messi is thriving in MLS, Cristiano Ronaldo has just won his first title in Saudi Arabia.
The former Real Madrid star scored two goals in his club Al-Nasr’s 2-1 victory over Al-Hilal in the Arab Club Cup final, his biggest achievement since moving to Saudi Arabia and his first-ever title in the tournament.
The winner came in the 98th minute, when Al-Nasr was playing with 10 men:
Ronaldo signed a deal said to be worth more than $200 million a year in December 2022, the first step in Saudi Arabia’s strategy to boost the football league by signing any big name that would take the money. It was all part of a larger effort for the country to use sport to redefine itself on the world stage.
Messi turned down an offer that was said to be almost twice as much as Ronaldo’s, but names like Karim Benzema, Roberto Firmino, N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy, Ruben Neves and Jota were more acceptable. Ronaldo was joined in victory by the likes of Sadio Mane, Sekho Fofana and Marcelo Brozovic, all of whom were on the field on Saturday.
Al-Hilal scored first with a goal from Michael in the 51st minute. Michael celebrated imitating Ronaldo’s trademark celebration, which ended up looking foolish when Ronaldo equalized in the 74th minute, then won it in extra time.
Ronaldo won the Golden Boot of the tournament with six goals, but it was not good for him, as he had to be removed from the field several minutes after his second goal. He seemed to be in good spirits Dancing with the cup And on social media after the match, the injury may have been minor.
Ronaldo and Al-Nassr will not have much time to celebrate, as the opening match of the Saudi Professional League against Al-Ettifaq is scheduled to start on Monday.