Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr) overcame adversity to explode for a hat trick.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Al Fateh in the third round of the 2023-24 Saudi Professional League at Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Stadium in Al Asa, Saudi Arabia, on April 26.
Ronaldo’s three-goal haul helped Al Nasr earn their first win of the new season after two straight defeats to open the campaign. Sadio Mane, who joined the team this season, also chipped in with two goals to join Ronaldo in a potent attacking lineup.
Mane opened the scoring. Mane opened the scoring in the 27th minute after receiving a heel kick pass from Ronaldo. From there, it was all Ronaldo. He opened the scoring with a trademark header in the 38th minute and made it 3-0 with a left-footed shot 10 minutes into the second half.
After taking the lead, Al Nasr continued to attack. Mane’s hat-trick made it 4-0 before Ronaldo added a late goal in stoppage time to seal the five-goal victory. The goal gave Ronaldo his 63rd career hat-trick.
Ronaldo is the spearhead of Saudi Arabia’s European assault this summer. One of Asia’s leading professional leagues, it hasn’t been on the global radar, but Ronaldo’s decision to join Al Nasr after parting ways with Manchester United at the end of last year made a big splash.
Ronaldo’s move changed Saudi Arabia’s reputation. In addition to this summer’s oil money, the kingdom has attracted a number of stars from Europe, with the advantage of Ronaldo’s league of choice. Al Nasr alone has signed Mane, Marcelo Brozovic, Alex Telles, and Emmrecht Laporte.
Al Ittihad are also trying to sign Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), who joins Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, and Fabinho. Al Ahli have brought in Roberto Firmino, Riyad Mahrez, Alain Saint-Maximin, Edouard Mendy and Frank Kessie from the English Premier League.
Al Hilal started with Kalidou Koulibaly, followed by Leo Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Malcom, and finally Neymar. Al Etihad, who used their Liverpool connections to secure Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson, and Mousa Dembele, are also worth keeping an eye on.
While Saudi Arabia’s deep pockets threaten Europe, not all teams can afford to spend. British media outlet The Daily Star took a look at Al Nasr’s dressing room for their trip to Al Fateh.
Typically, each player is assigned a large locker room to store their jerseys and cleats. It’s not uncommon to see the jerseys hung on the top of the locker room before a game. But at Al Fateh, Al Nasr’s jerseys were pretty much strewn across a common chair. They were plain chairs with no armrests, the kind you might see in a restaurant.
“Al Nasr changed in an unimaginably poor dressing room,” said the Daily Star, “Not all clubs in Saudi Arabia have the latest infrastructure. Ronaldo and Mane must have been quite embarrassed.”
“Only four clubs – Al Nasr, Al Hilal, Al Ahli and Al Ittihad – are supported by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF). The rest of the teams do not have financial backing,” explaining that “you only have to look at Al Fateh’s away dressing room to see the difference.”토스카지노
So, in a fit of rage, Ronaldo neutralized Al Fateh with a hat-trick. Ronaldo, who has scored 14 goals since arriving in Saudi Arabia last year, has been in fine form this season, leading Al Fateh to victory in the Arab Club Champions Cup with six goals in six games.