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Cristiano Ronaldo makes things difficult for Al-Nassr: “Opponents are more motivated”



Photo by ALI ALDAIF/AFP via Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Europe in the winter shocked the world. The Portuguese star was always associated with football of the highest level, and seeing him move to a subordinate league was one not many saw coming.

Yet, it was not a surprise given the Real Madrid legend’s age. One man’s loss is another’s gain, and it was Saudi Arabian football and Al-Nassr that stood to profit the most from Ronaldo’s decision.

The player’s new club is finding it unusually harder with Ronaldo on their side than they did before.

Part of their newfound struggle is that the veteran forward has found it difficult to adapt to his new club. Ronaldo has looked rusty on the ball, sluggish with his movements, and subpar with his decisions on the field.

In fact, it took him three starts to score his first goal for the Saudi club, and even that was a penalty.

However, there is one more reason that explains why Al-Nassr suffers on the field more after his arrival. As revealed by Luiz Gustavo, Cristiano’s teammate, the oppositions are far more motivated to show their talent against one of history’s greatest players.

“Certainly Ronaldo’s presence makes the games more difficult for us. All the teams try to play against him in the best possible way, and he motivates everyone to give their best,” the Brazilian said in an interview with RT Arabic (h/t Marca).

While Cristiano may have endured a rocky start in Asia, one knows that his never-say-never mentality coupled with his extra-terrestrial attributes will see him break records at Al-Nassr.

After all, the period of transition has always been short for the multiple times Champions League winner.

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Real Madrid News

Rival watch: Barcelona midfielder essentially ruled out of Real Madrid clash



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

In what could be a real deal breaker for Real Madrid ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg clash against Barcelona, it has been revealed that as many as three Barça will be absent from the game while another key player remains a major doubt.

The list includes the likes of Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen. The trio is certain to miss the game through respective injuries while a certain Frenkie de Jong is more or less ruled out, as per Javi Miguel.

It must be remembered that Barcelona are heading into the second leg with a 1-0 advantage. But the absence of the aforementioned players means Madrid can work on exploiting the frailties.

Despite the absence of such big names, Barcelona did pretty well against Elche in their previous outing, coming out 4-0 victorious, with the goals coming from Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres.

With options lacking in midfield, Xavi decided to use the likes of Sergi Roberto and Eric Garcia along with Gavi in the heart of the lineup. In any way, they do have Sergio Busquets and Franck Kessie as backups if needed.

The defence, on the other hand, was perfectly guarded by Jordi Alba, Marcos Alonso, Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde.

One can expect Xavi to once again interchange Araujo with Kounde on the right since the Uruguayan has been rather successful in minimizing the threat of Vinicius Jr.

As far as Madrid are concerned, they are sweating over the fitness of three key defenders, namely, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho, and Ferland Mendy. Between these three, the Frenchman is out for about a month while Rudiger and Nacho are expected to be back before the Clasico.

If there are no casualties against Real Valladolid, Madrid will have a perfect midfield and attack, with only Mariano Diaz missing. 

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