Cristiano Ronaldo ‘back in his prime’ as superb goal completes Al-Nassr comeback

Al-Nassr kept their hopes of winning the Saudi Professional League title alive thanks to a stupendous match-winner from Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday.

The Knights of Najd -who are second in Saudi Arabia's top flight – found themselves 2-0 down at home to third-place Al-Shabab after 40 minutes. However, goals from Luiz Gustavo and Abdulrahman Ghareeb either side of half-time pulled the team back level with plenty of time to spare.

And their talisman settled any remaining nerves with a long-range strike that had fans hailing the second coming of 'prime Ronaldo'. The Portugal ace took the ball in the left channel before drifting inside, shirking off two defenders and ripping a dipping devastator from 22 yards out.

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The finish was Ronaldo's 14th in 15 league outings for Al-Nassr, who stayed within three points of league leaders Al-Ittihad with just two rounds of fixtures remaining. Only Brazilian Anderson Talisca (18 goals in 21 appearances) has scored more for the club so far this term.

It reminded fans of what Ronaldo used to produce on a far more frequent basis, with even a rare talent like him unable to maintain his previous levels at 38 years of age.

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"Vintage Ronaldo," remarked one adoring fan happy to see the five-time Ballon d'Or-winner up to his old tricks. "Regardless of the league that's a class goal," wrote another.

Others were quick to suggest the veteran should still be thriving in Europe, and not for the first time given his prolific record in the Middle East: "He is too good to be playing in the Saudi League man, he joined too early."

The head-on trajectory and dipping curvature on the ball was trademark Ronaldo and reminiscent of the 'knuckle' technique the Portuguese once popularised at his peak. It was so good, in fact, that he even forgot to hit his usual 'Siu' celebration in the aftermath, lapping up the laser with his team-mates instead.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus talisman may yet lead Al-Nassr to a first league title since 2019, but it would require a slip-up from Al-Ittihad in the next week or so. Ronaldo's debut season in Saudi Arabia will be considered a success with or without silverware, and it's goals like Tuesday's that prove he's anything but over the hill.


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