Ronaldo receives rapturous welcome from Al Nassr fans
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Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more goals for Al-Nassr in eight matches than any Manchester United player this season barring Marcus Rashford. The Portugal international left Old Trafford back in November following a brutal interview with Piers Morgan. And he’s adjusted well to life in Saudi Arabia, netting nine times so far.
Manchester United had managed to keep hold of Ronaldo back in the summer, despite the 38-year-old demanding to leave the club.
But they opted to finally release the Portugal international in November after he’d criticised the club, Erik ten Hag, the Glazers and the facilities at Carrington in his interview with Morgan.
Ronaldo had hoped to stay in Europe yet, despite links to the likes of Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli, no offer arrived.
So he then decided to take the money at Al-Nassr, who have made him the best-paid football on the entire planet.
Ronaldo’s time in Saudi hasn’t been entirely straightforward. There have been some iffy results, as well as some of his usual tantrums when things don’t go his way.
He’s also found it frustrating being mocked with Lionel Messi chants by opposition fans, too.
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Yet Ronaldo has still managed to rediscover his magical goalscoring touch, netting his ninth goal of the campaign against Abha on Saturday night.
Before that, he’d plundered seven goals against Al-Wehda and Damac FC respectively.
And he was also on target in a 2-2 draw between Al-Nassr and Al Fateh last month.
Obviously, the quality of the football over in Saudi pales in comparison to the Premier League.
But Ronaldo, with nine goals to his name, has scored more than any United player so far this season – Rashford aside.
Bruno Fernandes is the Red Devils player behind the England international, having netted eight times.
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Antony has struck on seven occasions, providing one assist in the process, since his summer arrival from Ajax.
Fred and Anthony Martial have six each.
And Casemiro and Jadon Sancho have bagged five times, with Alejandro Garnacho behind them on four.
While Ronaldo’s numbers have shamed some of his old team-mates, however, the veteran isn’t being missed over at Old Trafford.
United are a team on an upwards trajectory, having won one trophy already while competing on two other fronts.
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They’re also poised to return to the Champions League after their absence from the competition this season.
And whether United can reach the FA Cup last four today, as they prepare to take on Fulham, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Red Devils legend Martin Buchan has slammed both Ronaldo and Paul Pogba – insisting they held the team back.
“It is nice to see there is a manager in charge of the players now,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I was disappointed by some of the big names, it was more about them than the club. I am referring to Pogba and Cristiano.
“I think he has tarnished his legacy, Ronaldo, by his behaviour. Petulant behaviour, you know.
“Which is a shame because when I think back it was United players, Gary Neville, that went to Fergie and said you’ve got to sign this kid from Sporting Lisbon.
“He was a wonderful player but it went sour at the end.
“I am 74, I’d still be playing if I could, but father time pardons no man.
“It comes to us all. The secret is to know when to go.”
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