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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Jacob Leeks

Angry Cristiano Ronaldo and Al-Nassr dumped out of Saudi Super Cup - 5 talking points

Cristiano Ronaldo endured a miserable night as his Al Nassr team were knocked out of the Saudi Super Cup by Al Ittihad.

In his second game for his new club since leaving Manchester United, Ronaldo again captained the Knights of Najd. But the superstar struggled in the semi-final, missing a golden chance to equalise after Romarinho put Al Ittihad ahead following a well-worked team move.

Al Ittihad doubled their lead through Abderrazak Hamdallah, before Al-Nassr pulled a goal back through Anderson Talisca in the second-half. But Muhannad Shanqeeti buried any hope of comeback with Al Ittihad's third goal in stoppage time.

Here, Mirror Football looks at five of the biggest talking points from the clash.

Ronaldo's trophy drought continues

It has now been two long years since Cristiano Ronaldo last won a major trophy, with that being the Coppa Italia with Juventus. He failed to lift any silverware in his second spell at Manchester United, and frankly never looked close to doing so.

But with Al-Nassr one of the top teams in Saudi Arabia, the Portugal star would have hoped that he stood a better chance with his new team. But those hopes were extinguished, for the time being at least, on Thursday night.

Al-Ittihad will now progress into the Saudi Super Cup final against Al-Feiha, where they will be much-fancied against the Saudi Pro League strugglers. It means another missed opportunity for Ronaldo.

HAVE YOUR SAY! How would you rate Cristiano Ronaldo's performance against Al Ittihad? Comment below.

Ronaldo saw his side comfortably defeated as his search for a competitive goal for Al Nassr continued (Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

Penny dropping for Ronaldo

It may only be his third game in Saudi Arabia, but suggestions that the penny is starting to drop for Ronaldo that he made a mistake in joining Al-Nassr may be growing. Though they dominated the early possession, the defending for Al-Ittihad's opener was dreadful.

And after seeing his header saved, Ronaldo will have been deeply frustrated to see his side's opponents go straight down the other end and double their lead. The Al-Nassr captain could be seen gesturing towards his team-mates frequently as they fell behind.

While many expected Ronaldo to take the Saudi league by storm when he arrived, the 37-year-old will also see his wait for a competitive goal go into a third game. This is surely not the way he expected his move to Al-Nassr to go.

Familiar face masterminds defeat

While it was Ronaldo who was bringing in much of the interest for this game, there was another familiar face for Premier League fans. That came in the form of Nuno Espirito Santo, who has been in charge of Al Ittihad since July.

The Portuguese manager saw his time in the Premier League come to a disappointing end at Tottenham. The job in Saudi Arabia marks his first since his departure from Spurs, who he left in November 2021.

And he masterminded a famous win for his side against Ronaldo's Al Nassr, with Al Ittihad also closing in on their opponents in the league. In truth, Santo's men looked comfortable for much of the night and will progress into the final.

Al Nassr boss Rudi Garcia has warned it will take time for Ronaldo to integrate himself into his new team (AFP via Getty Images)

Garcia's warning ringing true

After his side's win over Ettifaq on Sunday, Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia warned it would take time for Ronaldo to integrate into his new team. That warning ringed true again on Thursday night with Garcia's men struggling to create opportunities for their star man.

The Frenchman even made a triple change at half-time in a bid to reinvigorate his side, but it failed to have the desired effect. Instead, Garcia may need to go back to the drawing board as he searches for a way to bring the best out of his captain.

Ronaldo fever continues

The draw of seeing one of the world's best ever footballers is clearly still looming large for Saudi Arabians. The King Fahd International Stadium was packed out for the semi-final clash on Thursday night.

And it was soon clear that the majority were there to support Ronaldo, with the Al-Nassr captain loudly cheered whenever he got on the ball. A series of step-overs drew the loudest celebration, with referee Danny Makkeile also jeered whenever he made a decision against Al-Nassr.

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