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During a heated King Cup of Champions match between Al-Nassr and Al-Ettifaq, Cristiano Ronaldo expressed anger towards the referee, the crowd, and Jordan Henderson, the captain of the opposing team. The match ended with both teams having 10 players.
Al-Nassr, led by Ronaldo, won their knockout game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Sadio Mane in extra time. However, the 38-year-old Portuguese player was angered by several questionable calls made during the match.
The audience taunted him with the words “Messi!” after the Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday, where Lionel Messi received his eighth award, surpassing his former rival Ronaldo by three. In response, Ronaldo silenced the crowd.
Ronaldo motioned for Chilean referee Piero Maza to be replaced after he was deemed offside, resulting in his teammate Talisca’s goal being disallowed in the first half. Later, Talisca received a red card in added time of the second half when VAR changed a yellow card to a red for an elbow to an opponent’s face.
Al-Ettifaq experienced a player being ejected from the game when Ali Hazazi received a red card for a reckless tackle. This led to a chaotic fight breaking out between both teams.
Ronaldo received a booking for expressing his discontent, but managed to escape a second yellow card despite his anger. At the end of the game, he visibly expressed his frustration and exchanged heated words with Henderson, the Al-Ettifaq captain, who attempted to calm the situation.
This is not the initial occasion when Ronaldo has shown anger since relocating to Saudi Arabia. He yelled at the referee, pushed a fan taking a selfie, and angrily left the field after a victory in the Asian Champions League against Shabab Al-Ahli from the United Arab Emirates in August.
Ronaldo was extremely angry when his impressive bicycle kick, which happened while his team was losing, was stopped by a defender’s hand and he did not receive a penalty. Although his team eventually won 4-2, Ronaldo did not score and left the field in a state of fury.
In the meantime, Alex Telles, a teammate of his, has shared that he was persuaded by the Portuguese player to depart from Manchester United and join Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League.
Telles, who was on loan at Sevilla and won the Europa League last season, signed a contract with Al-Nassr until 2025 in July.
“When Al-Nassr initially approached me, I reached out to Cristiano and he responded with an invitation to join him,” Telles stated in an interview on messaging platform X, previously known as Twitter. “Naturally, Cristiano is constantly evolving and gaining more experience with each passing day.”
“Take note of the amount of goals he has achieved. I may have a biased opinion of him due to his impressive record-breaking performances. I was fortunate to have played alongside him at both Manchester United and Al-Nassr. (Ronaldo) remains a crucial player and an exceptional leader, always willing to take charge in the team’s locker room. He is a supportive teammate who fosters a positive environment.”
Al-Nassr currently holds the second position in the league standings with a total of 25 points, trailing behind the top-ranked team Al-Hilal by four points.