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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Dan Marsh

Cristiano Ronaldo suffers injury in second Al-Nassr appearance as manager aims clear dig

Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to suffer an ankle injury as the second match of his Al-Nassr career ended in disappointment on Thursday night.

Weeks after completing his lucrative move to the Middle East, Ronaldo, 37, finally made his long-awaited Saudi Pro League debut last week in a 1-0 win over Ettifaq. However, there was to be no repeat for Ronaldo and his new side in their Super Cup semi-final showdown with Al-Ittihad.

Al-Nassr fell to a 3-1 defeat against their domestic rivals, who had raced into a two goal lead in the first-half. Just as he did against Ettifaq, Anderson Talisca found the net for Al-Nassr but any hopes of a late comeback were extinguished after Al-Ittihad bagged a third goal in added-on time.

On a personal level, it was another disappointing night for Ronaldo, who once again spurned chances to officially open his Al-Nassr account.

And things went from bad to worse for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner after he was spotted hobbling off the field after the match. Ronaldo had been left writhing on the turf in agony following a tackle from second-half substitute Hamdan Al-Shamrani and Al-Nassr will be sweating on the damage done to their new talisman.

Away from Ronaldo's injury scare, Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia was left to bemoan his side's inability to make the most of their chances in the first-half - and he wasn't afraid to criticise his new star man for missing a gilt-edged chance, either.

"One of the things that changed the course of the match was Cristiano's missed opportunity in the first half," Garcia assessed after the game.

Join the debate! What have you made of Ronaldo's start to life in Al-Nassr? Let us know here.

Ronaldo's ankle was caught following a late tackle in the second-half (SCC)

"I congratulate Al-Ittihad. They presented a much better first half than us, and we played a good second half, but unfortunately we were not able to adjust the result. It's true that we regret losing the Super Cup, but we are still the first in the league."

Garcia's blunt verdict capped a miserable night for Ronaldo, who was taunted by Al-Ittihad fans chanting the name of his iconic rival Lionel Messi as he left the pitch.

Al-Ittihad striker Abderrazak Hamdallah also took a snide dig at Ronaldo by replicating one of Messi's most iconic goal celebrations after scoring in the first-half.

The Morocco international, who featured five times for the Atlas Lions during their historic run to the World Cup semi-finals, held up his shirt after scoring - just as Messi did when he bagged a last-gasp winner in an El Clasico clash in LaLiga back in 2017.

Ronaldo appeared to be less than impressed when the camera quickly panned to him, with the veteran caught throwing his arms around in frustration.

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