In a surprising turn of events, Cristiano Ronaldo made a groundbreaking move to the Saudi Pro League, joining Al-Nassr after departing from Manchester United in early 2023, but he still can't escape Lionel Messi, reported by GOAL. This move marked a significant shift for the Portuguese icon, who became the first major football star to venture into the Middle East football scene. Despite being 39 years old, Ronaldo has defied age expectations, showcasing his exceptional skills and scoring talent with an impressive tally of 42 goals this season.

The Lionel Messi taunts

Lionel Messi Miami

However, Ronaldo's time at Al-Nassr has not been without challenges. Rival supporters have regularly taunted him with chants of “Messi,” referencing his long-standing rivalry with Lionel Messi. These chants have not gone unnoticed by Ronaldo, who has expressed frustration at the insults. On one occasion, Ronaldo's response to these taunts resulted in a ban, highlighting the intensity of his reaction to the ongoing chants.

Despite facing adversity, Ronaldo's contract with Al-Nassr is set to continue until the summer of 2025. Saudi football expert Ben Jacobs predicts that Ronaldo will honor his contract, despite evident frustration with the current situation. Jacobs suggests that while Ronaldo may feel a personal sense of accomplishment in pioneering his move to the Middle East, he is equally irked by the difference of his career trajectory with Messi's success. The chants invoking Messi's name have become a source of irritation for Ronaldo, indicating a challenging aspect of his time at Al-Nassr.

“..And every time he does anything wrong, opposition fans are chanting the name ‘Leo Messi’. And that juxtaposition of Messi winning the World cup, Ronaldo being in Saudi Arabia, I think is really irking him. I expect him to do one more season, but quite clearly there's aspects out there now that are irritating Ronaldo. Particularly, and oddly at this stage of his career, when people are chanting the name Lionel Messi at him.” Jacobs said.

In a recent Saudi Super Cup semi-final match against Al-Hilal, Ronaldo experienced a setback as he received a red card, resulting in a suspension. This incident adds to the frustration for Ronaldo, who now faces a period on the sidelines before returning to action in a King Cup of Champions clash with Al-Khaleej. Despite this setback, Ronaldo remains determined to continue his pursuit of success with Al-Nassr, aiming to add more major honors to his illustrious career in 2024.

Cristiano Ronaldo's impact and legacy

Cristiano Ronaldo smiling happily in front of the Al-Nassr logo

Beyond the challenges he faces on the pitch, Ronaldo's presence at Al-Nassr has had a significant impact on the club and the Saudi Pro League as a whole. His arrival has brought increased attention and interest to the league, attracting fans from around the world. Ronaldo's enduring popularity and success have elevated the profile of Saudi football, showcasing the league's competitiveness and potential for growth on the global stage.

As Cristiano Ronaldo navigates through the highs and lows of his time at Al-Nassr, his resilience and determination remain unwavering. Despite the Lionel Messi taunts and challenges he faces, Ronaldo remains focused on achieving success with his team and leaving a lasting legacy in the Saudi Pro League. With his contract set to continue for next season, Ronaldo's journey in the Middle East promises to be an intriguing chapter in his already amazing career, as he continues to defy his age and make history in the world of football.