Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr will face Iranian side Persepolis in Asian Champions League.
Al-Nassr star Cristiano Ronaldo received a rousing reception upon reaching Iranian capital Tehran on Monday. The Saudi Pro League outfit arrived in Tehran for their Group E fixture against Iranian club Persepolis in the Asian Champions League. Al Nassr’s visit is set to be a historic one as it marks a Saudi club’s arrival in Iran for the first time since 2016. This is also Ronaldo’s maiden visit to Iran with Al- Nassr.
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia rose in recent years and the two long-standing Asian rivals had severed their diplomatic ties in 2016. The 2015 edition of the Asian Champions League was the last time the Iranian and Saudi Arabian clubs lined up against each other at home venues in the group stage or knockout fixtures. Football matches have taken place on neutral territories since 2016. Diplomatic relations between the two nations were restored earlier this year.
Ronaldo fever hits Iran!
Innumerable fans thronged the streets of Tehran to catch a glimpse of the Portuguese superstar. Chanting, “Ronaldo, Ronaldo,” football fans raised banners and posters of the former Manchester United striker. Supporters were even seen storming into the Espians Palace Hotel to see Ronaldo. Sharing crazy visuals, Al-Nassr came up with a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. “These are things that cannot be bought. Be closer and see the scenes of the arrival to the Iranian capital, Tehran,” read the post.
هي أشيـاء لا تُشتـرى 💛
— نادي النصر السعودي (@AlNassrFC) September 18, 2023
Some children even donned Al-Nassr and Portugal shirts with Ronaldo’s name and number on them. Many were spotted performing the iconic celebration of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. “Mr. Cristiano Ronaldo, welcome to Iran. A token of appreciation, an original hand-woven piece of art made by Iranian artists to commemorate your presence in Iran, on behalf of Persepolis’s fans,” the fans wrote, as per news agency Reuters.
CR7 leading Al Nassr’s title bid in Asian Champions League
Ronaldo will head into the Asian Champions League having scored against Al Raed in a Saudi Pro League game last week. The 38-year-old registered his name on the scoresheet for the fourth consecutive time to earn a resounding 1-3 win for Al Nassr against Al Raed in the Saudi domestic league. Al Nassr are currently placed in sixth position on the Saudi Pro League points table. Having played six matches till now, Al-Nassr have collected 12 points in the league.
A five-time winner of the UEFA Champions League in Europe, Ronaldo is now all set to replicate a similar feat in the top-flight Asian club football. Buoyed by Ronaldo’s presence, Al Nassr will be aiming to win their maiden Asian Champions League trophy this time.