Cristiano Ronaldo received an incredible reception in the closing minutes of Riyadh XI’s 5-4 loss to Paris Saint-Germain; cameras caught his reaction. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner started his first match in Saudi Arabia on Thursday night to begin the final chapter of his illustrious career.
Earlier this month, Ronaldo revealed his career in Europe was over, following spells at Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus.
What is already evident is that Ronaldo will be adored in the Middle East. The Portuguese legend contributed to the massive increase in Al Nassr fans on social media hours after signing a contract with Al Nassr, while someone bought a ticket for his first match for 2.18 million pounds.
He scored twice for Riyadh’s XI, the first from a penalty and the second from a header from Keylor Navas that had no chance of being saved.
The 37-year-old didn’t play the full 90 minutes, as he is likely destined for his new club. He contributed enough to receive a huge ovation from all the spectators at the King Fahd International Stadium.
When broadcasters showed Ronaldo sitting on the bench with his teammates, the stadium let out its joy. Ronaldo’s face had been shown on the screens inside the pitch.
It’s the kind of noise usually reserved for last-minute victories or flashes of genius. The presence of Ronaldo surprisingly manages to make all this forget.
He can’t help but wave and smile. The atmosphere is electric at the stadium, with thousands of people on their feet giving Ronaldo the respect he deserves.
This will likely be the last time Ronaldo faces his lifelong rival, Lionel Messi. The Argentinian maestro opened the scoring in the space of three minutes, so everyone knew what to expect.
Ronaldo equalized just before the half-hour mark, while PSG defender Juan Bernat was shown a red card. Marquinhos restored the lead to the French club before Ronaldo scored his second goal.
Sergio Ramos made it 3-2, then Jang Hyun-soo equalized a few minutes later. PSG managed to take a two-goal lead thanks to a hat-trick from Kylian Mbappé and an effort from Hugo Ekitike.
The XI of Riyadh were not yet at the end of their sentences. Anderson Talisca added some consolation in injury time to close out a thrilling show.
Ronaldo can start for the first time at Al Nassr against Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League on Sunday.