Cristiano Ronaldo was not in Al Nassr’s squad for their opening Saudi Pro League match of the season against Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq side. Al Nassr’s season had already begun last week in the Arab Club Champions Cup final.
Ronaldo was in the line-up as he bid for his first piece of silverware since moving to Saudi Arabia at the start of the year. And the Portuguese superstar netted twice to hand Al Nassr victory and give his side a good platform going into the new season.
Ronaldo was joined by recent summer signings Sadio Mane, Alex Telles, Marcelo Brozovic and Seko Fofana. But Mane was the only one of those players who featured in the Arab Club Champions Cup final to maintain his place in the squad for the season opener on Monday night.
Ronaldo was the most noticable absentee after he picked up an injury against Al Hilal.
The 38-year-old appeared to twist his knee during a challenge with Mohammed Jahfali before falling to the floor in agony. Ronaldo immediately called to the bench with the medical buggy needed to help escort him off the pitch.
There were positive signs after the final whistle though as Ronaldo joined in the celebrations as Al Nassr lifted the trophy. But Al Nassr opted not to risk Ronaldo for their season-opener against Al Ettifaq.
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Mane led the line against Gerrard’s side with Jordan Henderson also in action for Al Ettifaq.
And it didn’t take long for Mane to register his first Saudi Pro League goal, scoring after just four minutes of play
Al Nassr will be aiming to go one better than last year when they finished runners-up to Al-Ittihad.
They last won the Saudi Pro League in 2019 with the likes of Abderrazak Hamdallah, Ahmed Musa and Nordin Amrabat all featuring for Al Nassr.
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