A fan’s comment on Al Nassr’s Twitter account caught attention, noting that Ronaldo hasn’t appeared this content since his Juventus days. It’s understandable given his year at Man Utd without securing any titles.
The Arab Club Champions Cup victory marks Ronaldo’s first since the 2021 Italy Cup with Juventus. Interestingly, he had scored a brace in the semi-finals that year against Inter, aiding the home team. Similarly, he netted twice as Al Nassr defeated rival Al Hilal.
This triumph, Ronaldo’s first with Al Nassr, came with the team bolstered by stars comparable to the Asian level, such as Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic, Seko Fofana, and Alex Telles. These players contributed significantly to Ronaldo’s 35th career title, while also securing Al Nassr’s first international title in 25 years.
The Arab Club Champions Cup trophy features similarities to the World Cup, with an hourglass-shaped base and ball top. Ronaldo’s 2022 World Cup appearance was less successful, failing to score in the knockout round. However, in the recent tournament, he found the net in the group stage, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final.
In the final against Al Hilal on August 12, Al Nassr played with reduced numbers from the 71st minute while trailing. Ronaldo swiftly equalized three minutes later, tapping in from close range. He even outpaced defenders like Kalidou Koulibaly to reach the cross from Sultan Al Ghannam.
Ronaldo’s second goal, during extra time, came via a header from Fofana’s long shot over the bar. Initially nervous, he celebrated heartily after VAR confirmed its validity, sealing a 2-1 win.
Scoring six goals in six games, Ronaldo secured the Golden Shoe at the tournament, outdoing runner-up Karim Benzema. Benzema’s quarter-final exit halted his progress as Al Ittihad fell to Al Hilal.
With 22 goals in finals, Ronaldo surpassed his record, while Lionel Messi stood at 34. Across his career, the 38-year-old star tallied 844 goals, a lead of 29 over Messi. Just yesterday, Messi scored in his fifth consecutive game for Inter Miami, and now Ronaldo responds with a five-goal streak for Al Nassr.
Post-match, Al Nassr players announced Coach Luis Castro’s appointment, a result of Ronaldo’s influence. Their camaraderie was evident as they laughed together.
At the King Fahd Stadium in Taif City, Saudi Arabia, the captivating final unfolded. Fans sprayed water, lit flares, and waved yellow flags for the team. Al Nassr’s four-year drought ended, inviting celebrations. However, they face a quick turnaround, with a day’s rest before their opening match in the Saudi League 2023-2024 against Al Ettifaq on August 14.