The first Saudi team to visit Iran since 2016, Al-Nassr captain Cristiano Ronaldo was welcomed with open arms on Monday ahead of the start of the Asian Champions League group stage.
Tuesday’s Group E matches pit Al-Nassr against Persepolis of Iran and Al-Duhail of Qatar against Istiklol Dushanbe of Tajikistan.
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When the Saudi squad arrived in Iran after the mending of ties between the two nations, the streets were packed with supporters waving banners and posters of Ronaldo.
Following the agreement of the two local federations, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) declared that matches between Saudi and Iranian teams will take place on a home-and-away basis.
as 2016, matches have taken place on neutral ground as Saudi citizens were not allowed to enter Iran due to the two nations’ tense diplomatic relations.
Supporters broke into the team’s hotel despite guards’ best efforts to stop them.
Children and ladies holding posters of the Portugal captain were among the supporters who were chanting Ronaldo’s name.
Al-Nassr shared many images of Ronaldo accepting an opulent Persian carpet by hand from Persepolis devotees.
“Hello, Carlos Ronaldo, and welcome to Iran. On behalf of Persepolis’s fans, a unique hand-woven work of art created by Iranian artisans as a gesture of gratitude to mark your visit to Iran,” the fans said.
Youngsters donned Portugal and Al-Nassr t-shirts with Ronaldo’s name and number on them, and some supporters did the well-known celebration of the former Real Madrid star.
For players residing in Europe, the Saudi Pro League has grown in popularity since Ronaldo’s January transfer to Al-Nassr.