IRAN: When Al-Nassr star Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Tehran, the capital of Iran, on Monday, he was greeted with a loud welcome. To play Iranian side Persepolis in Group E of the Asian Champions League, the Saudi Pro League team travelled to Tehran.
For the first time since 2016, a Saudi club will be visiting Iran during Al Nassr’s tour, making it a historic occasion. As part of Al-Nassr, this is Ronaldo’s first trip to Iran.
In 2016, the two longtime Asian adversaries broke their diplomatic ties after tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia increased in previous years. The last time the Iranian and Saudi Arabian clubs competed against one another at home during group stage or playoff matches was in the 2015 Asian Champions League. Before the end of last year, diplomatic ties between the two countries were repaired.
The Portuguese celebrity attracted throngs of admirers who flocked to Tehran’s streets to see him. Football supporters held up banners and posters of the former Manchester United striker while chanting, “Ronaldo, Ronaldo.” It was also witnessed that fans barged into the Espians Palace Hotel to meet Cristiano Ronaldo.
Some kids even wore shirts bearing Cristiano Ronaldo’s name and number that said Al-Nassr and Portugal. Numerous people were seen performing the traditional Ballon d’Or celebration.
“Mr. Cristiano Ronaldo, welcome to Iran. A token of appreciation, an original hand-woven piece of art made by Iranian artists to commemorate your presence in Iran, on behalf of Persepolis’s fans,” fans wrote.
Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time winner of the UEFA Champions League, is set to enter the Asian Champions League after scoring against Al Raed in a Saudi Pro League match. Al Nassr, currently in sixth place in the league, has 12 league points after six matches.
With Ronaldo in the lineup, Al Nassr will be motivated to win their first Asian Champions League championship this season following a 1-3 victory against Al Raed in the Saudi domestic league.