Cristiano Ronaldo watches his new side Al-Nassr ease to a comfortable 2-0 win from a VIP box in the stands, with the veteran unable to make his debut due to a two-match ban
- Cristiano Ronaldo looked on as Al-Nassr defeated Al-Ta’ee 2-0 on Friday evening
- The Portuguese veteran forward watched the game from a VIP box in the stands
- Ronaldo did not make his debut due to a two-match ban from his time in England
- He was forced to comply with the sanction for smashing a young fan’s phone
- But the former Manchester United star left the match at Mrssool Park at half-time
Cristiano Ronaldo looked on from a VIP box as Al-Nassr won 2-0 in their first match since his signing – but left the stadium at half-time.
The Portuguese veteran, 37, moved to the Saudi Arabian side on a free transfer in late December after his Manchester United contract was ripped up following a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan.
And Ronaldo, who was unable to make his debut on Friday as Al-Nassr eased past Al-Ta’ee, watched for 45 minutes as his new team-mates secured all three points at the King Saud University Stadium to move four points clear at the top of the Saudi Pro League table.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) watched on from a VIP box as his new side Al-Nassr beat Al-Ta’ee 2-0
The Portuguese forward, 37, who joined the Saudi Arabian side in a mega-money deal in December, looked on as his team-mates took all three points – but surprisingly left at half-time
Video from Al-Nassr’s Twitter account showed Talisca scoring their second at Mrsool Park
Social media video from Al-Nassr’s English-speaking Twitter account showed the second goal they scored, with former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina playing a long kick up to Brazilian forward Talisca, who finished with aplomb to seal the win.
Ronaldo could not make his highly anticipated debut in Riyadh because he was forced to comply with a two-match FA ban for smashing a young Everton fan’s phone while at United.
So instead, the forward watched from a luxury box with friend Ricky Regufe. He had arrived at Mrsool Park with his team = mates in a tracksuit and negotiated the ankle-deep puddles as he entered the stadium 90 minutes before the scheduled kick-off.
What could have been his possible debut on Thursday was postponed as heavy rain hit Riyadh
The torrential rain caused electrical issues at Al-Nassr’s ground and forced the postponement
His image, showing him wearing his new club shirt, and both his fists raised, showing off his biceps, was given pride of place next to a giant screen and opposite the executive box for all to see.
But after calling Saudi Arabia ‘South Africa’ in his arrival press conference, the Portuguese committed a second faux pas on Friday evening.
As his adopted country’s national anthem played and the teams lined up, the banned striker was chatting to a man in the VIP box. He then sat down as the anthem played and was quickly nudged to get back on his feet by him.
Heavy rain continued on Friday but groundskeepers worked with squeegees and pitch forks to try and clear the water and make the surface playable
Despite the torrential rain, Al-Nassr’s clash with Al Ta’ee at Mrssool Park went ahead on Friday
He then stood with other dignitaries for the last few seconds as the anthem played out. The pitch resembled a quagmire in the driving rain and the superstar striker would not have been happy playing in torrid conditions as sliding tackles flew and the ball stuck repeatedly in the mud.
Despite claims that the 28,000 seater stadium had sold out, Mrsool Park was half empty with swathes of empty yellow seats.
A club source said this was possibly because news of Ronaldo being banned, as first reported by Sportsmailhad reached fans as well as the driving rain and cold temperatures.
Ronaldo was joined in the box by his personal manager Ricardo ‘Ricky’ Regufe (right), who negotiated the £175million-a-year deal that took the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to Al-Nassr
The spectators sang their new hero’s name when his image appeared on the stadium screens and he waved back at them from behind a glass screen.
He was joined in the executive box in the stands by his personal manager Ricardo Regufe, who reportedly negotiated his transfer to Al-Nassr.
According to Portuguese news outlet PublicoRegufe has replaced Ronaldo’s long-serving agent Jorge Mendes as the former striker’s most trusted confidante.