December 31, 2022, 1:57 PM
December 31, 2022, 1:57 PM
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo by Al Nassr was announced on Friday but this Saturday, just a few hours laterAbdulmohsen Al Ayyban and his son had already bought the shirt of their favorite Saudi club with the name of the Portuguese star, who already unleashes passions in the country.
With an estimated salary of 200 million euros (214 million dollars) in the two and a half years signed with Al Nassr, The 37-year-old attacker is scheduled to perform in front of his new fans on Thursday in Riyadh, according to a club official who preferred to remain anonymous. The issue is of the utmost importance in a country that suddenly entered the world soccer map with this spectacular operation.
“We live in a historic moment” Ayyban (41 years old), who was waiting with his son Nayek (9 years old) for the famous shirt in the official club store, full of fans, told AFP.
This signing “is going to raise the level of the Saudi league,” he assured, coinciding with the tone of general euphoria.
“I’ve always wanted Al Nassr to sign the best player in the world,” said little Nayek. “Now it has been achieved, I am going to go to all his matches at the stadium,” he was excited.
– “I never saw this” –
For many in the country, 2022 has been a turning point for Saudi football. In addition to the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, his country’s team was able to beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina during the World Cup, a tournament that the Albiceleste later won.
During the day on Friday, the press began to drop that the announcement of the signing of the Portuguese was imminent and The Al Nassr store has already begun to see the arrival of Saudi fans and also Lebanese, Egyptian or Chinese expatriatestells AFP the patron of the establishment, Abdelqader.
“I never saw this in my whole life”, it states. The ‘stocks’ of shirts have flown and this has even forced fans to go to the place with their own shirts, so that they can be decorated with the name and number of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Taking into account the influx, most will have to wait before the avalanche of requests, even up to two days, to get that shirt back, he warns.
“I’ve been a fan of (Cristiano) Ronaldo since I was a child and now the Saudi club that I support has signed him. I’m doubly happy.”celebrated Mohammad Al Johni, a 23-year-old student.
“This purchase confirms the importance of Al Nassr,” wants to believe Rakan Mohammad, 21, also enrolled in the university. “Expectations are maxed out,” he says.
– ‘For the history books’ –
The five-time Ballon d’Or, who at 37 seems to have been pushed aside by the greats of Europe, he opted for a golden exile in Saudi Arabia with that lucrative contract with Al Nassr, after parting ways with Manchester United in November.
As soon as the signing was announced, Al Nassr began to feel its effects: their pages on social networks They gained millions of new ‘followers’ in a matter of hours. On Instagram he went from 800,000 followers to four million.
“We have felt the impact of this signing even before Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Saudi Arabia. And it will continue to grow.” Ahmed Al Zabani (19 years old) assures AFP.
On Instagram, some are also exploiting the vein: “the dream has come true”, proclaims a shop that prints Cristiano Ronaldo t-shirts in the colors of Al Nassr. Customers also crowd there, specifying their size to place the order.
In the midst of this effervescence, a Saudi Internet user thinks about the future on Twitter. Beneath a photo of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Al Nassr jersey, he is proud to “a picture for the history books”.