Cristiano Ronaldo watched on from the stands as his new team Al Nassr beat Al Tae’e 2-0 on Friday in their first home match since the Portuguese star’s blockbuster arrival.
The 37-year-old will miss his first two Saudi Pro League matches after being suspended by England’s Football Association (FA) for knocking a phone out of a fan’s hand after Manchester United’s defeat at Everton in April.
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According to FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP), any sanction of up to four matches that has been issued to a player by their former association must be “enforced by the new association.”
The game against Al Tae’e was originally scheduled for Thursday but was postponed by 24 hours due to heavy rain and weather conditions impacting the stadium’s electricity.
Ronaldo, who signed a 2½-year deal worth $75 million a year at Al Nassr on Dec. 30, was not included in Al Nassr’s squad for Friday’s match, despite media reports that the Portugal forward was going to make his debut despite having a two-match suspension.
While he took his place in the stands and waved to fans ahead of the game, Ronaldo was also captured watching part of it from the training room.
Both of Al Nassr’s goals, either side of half-time, were scored by Brazilian Talisca.
— AlNassr FC (@AlNassrFC_EN) January 6, 2023
Ronaldo will also miss Al Nassr’s Jan. 14 fixture against Riyadh rivals Al Shabab. His first opportunity to play for his new club will be against Al-Ettifaq at Mrsool Park on Jan. 22.
There is also the possibility that Ronaldo could feature for a Saudi Riyadh Season select team in a friendly against Paris Saint-Germain and Lionel Messi on Jan. 19 at the King Fahd International Stadium in the Saudi capital.
With Friday’s win, Al Nassr extended their lead at the top of the Saudi Pro League to four points over Al Shabad, having played a game more.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.